David Neslin is leaving the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for private practice

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Here’s the release from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (David Neslin/Todd Hartman):

David Neslin will be resigning from his post as Director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to return to the practice of law effective in February. Neslin was appointed director of the COGCC in November of 2007.

Under Neslin’s tenure, the COGCC comprehensively updated the state’s oil and gas regulations to strengthen environmental protections during a significant increase in energy development. Neslin also oversaw changes within the agency that resulted in more efficient permit reviews and other process improvements assisting industry and the public.

Neslin worked closely with environmental groups and industry to develop the country’s strongest chemical disclosure law for hydraulic fracturing and he continues to work productively with several local governments on regulatory issues as the potential for energy development grows along the Front Range. Neslin frequently speaks before the public on oil and gas issues, and has testified on regulatory issues before Congress.

“Leading this agency through a time of dynamic change in energy development in Colorado has been a challenging, exciting and rewarding experience,” Neslin said. “I look forward to continuing the work of building collaborative, productive solutions to energy and natural resources issues in a new forum.”

“David’s many talents have been a great asset for our state,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper. “He earnestly, ably and consistently brought varied interests together to do what’s best for the environment, for business and for Colorado. We thank him for his service and wish him luck in his new job.”

“David Neslin presided over a transformative change in oil and gas regulation in Colorado,” said Department of Natural Resources executive director Mike King. “He has left the state in a strong position to address the industry’s increasing investment in Colorado, while ensuring that those operators working here are held to the highest standards for protection of the public and our environment.

“He deftly managed the COGCC through the most challenging period in agency history, and conducted his work with grace, poise and the highest order of professionalism.” King added. “We will miss him, and extend our gratitude for his public service.”

Neslin will be joining the Denver law firm of Davis Graham & Stubbs with a focus on public lands and energy on March 1. Prior to joining Colorado state government in 2007, Neslin was a partner in the Denver law office of Arnold & Porter, where he also focused on lands and natural resource matters.

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

Neslin on March 1 will join Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP in Denver, where he will deal with oil and gas and public lands matters.

Neslin became the state commission’s acting director in 2007, and was named director in 2009. He oversaw the controversial 2008 overhaul of the state’s oil and gas rules, aimed at better balancing development with protection of the environment and public health. Critics blamed those rules for a subsequent decline in drilling in the state, but Neslin cited falling natural gas prices and noted that Colorado remained among the most active states for oil and gas development in the Rocky Mountain region.

In December, he helped negotiate a compromise rule requiring public disclosure of the contents of hydraulic fracturing fluids, while providing for trade secret protections. It’s considered the most far-reaching fracturing disclosure requirement of any state.

More coverage from Cathy Proctor writing for the Denver Business Journal. From the article:

Shortly after Neslin was appointed acting director of COGCC in November 2007, he oversaw the massive, acrimonious rewrite of Colorado’s oil and gas regulations, which dictate industry operations in the state. The new rules were implemented in April 2009, when Neslin was appointed permanent director of COGCC.

During his tenure, Colorado’s oil and gas industry shrank as wholesale natural gas prices dropped. But Neslin also saw the industry grow again, as a new oil discovery in northern Weld County has evolved into Colorado’s fledgling Niobrara oil field, which some oil and ggas companies say could produce more than 1 billion barrels of oil.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

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