Denver lawyer named director of state oil and gas commission

A Denver lawyer and former assistant attorney general who practices natural resource and environmental law has been selected as the new director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Matthew Lepore recently served as lead counsel for the commission and represented the agency on numerous matters, including environmental protection, permitting and regulatory enforcement. Lepore also has worked for private firms and practices natural resource and environmental law in a legal career spanning nearly 20 years.

“We’re pleased to have Matt at the commission’s helm as it balances responsible energy development and protecting the natural beauty of Colorado,” said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

“Matt is a longtime Coloradan whose love and appreciation of the outdoors and experience with legal and natural resource issues make him an ideal leader for the commission,” Hickenlooper added. “We expect Matt and the commission to maintain the high standards that protect the environment and help Colorado’s economy to continue moving forward.”

Mike King, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, said Lepore provided “exceptional” representation to the commission as an assistant state attorney general. “We expect him to build on that work in his new role overseeing the commission staff and working with commission members and stakeholders — including local governments, neighbors, citizens groups and the regulated industry.” King said.

LePore said he’s anxious to start that new role.

“I look forward to leading the commission as we continue to bring together people of diverse views to ensure our energy resources are developed with the highest regard for the communities, landscapes and environments that we care for so deeply. Colorado is recognized as a national leader in working through the many challenges of energy development,  and we intend to continue serving as a model the country can follow.”

Lepore served as lead counsel to the commission beginning in late 2009, a time when the commission implemented a comprehensive overhaul of state regulations designed to create stronger protections for land, water, wildlife and public health in areas affected by oil and gas development.

Lepore will oversee a staff of 70 and work closely with the nine-member commission that provides policy direction to the agency.