Club 20, industry back second local man for oil, gas panel
Several western Colorado organizations have coalesced behind a request that Gov. John Hickenlooper appoint a Grand Junction man to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
It’s not clear, however, whether David Cesark is in direct competition with another Grand Valley man who already sits on the commission.
Club 20, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, the Western Energy Alliance and West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association all recommended Cesark, who heads the Club 20 energy committee.
Rich Alward of Grand Junction has applied to Hickenlooper to remain on the commission as an environmental specialist. Hickenlooper has seven spots to fill on the nine-member commission.
Cesark said he is qualified to sit on the commission in several capacities.
“I have industry experience, West Slope experience and reclamation experience,” Cesark said. “I’m throwing my resume out to the state and letting them tell me where I fit, if at all.”
Cesark is vice president of environmental and regulatory affairs for Mesa Energy Partners LLC.
“I know what it takes to operate (an energy business), and yet I have a strong environmental background,” he said.
Alward still enjoys the support of the environmental community and is recognized for his willingness to work with industry, Frank Smith of the Western Colorado Congress said.
“He works with industry” as an expert in soils and related issues, Smith said. “That’s his business.”
Alward has a doctorate in biology from Colorado State University and runs an energy-consulting business.
Whether he’ll be pitted directly against Alward isn’t clear to him, Cesark said.
“Certainly the opportunity is there, depending on the mix,” Cesark said.
Likewise, Alward said, it’s unclear how his desire to remain on the commission will be weighed against Cesark’s application, or those of others.
“It’s a pretty complicated matrix,” Alward said.
How the governor might shuffle the members of the commission together remains to be seen.
Two members of the commission must reside west of the Continental Divide. One must also represent local government. Hickenlooper, however, didn’t immediately appoint a replacement for Tresi Houpt, whose term as a Garfield County commissioner ended in January.
There are other considerations, including the party registrations of Alward, a Democrat, and Cesark, a Republican.
The commission can’t be stacked with one party, as a maximum of three from either major party can serve.
A spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources said officials are considering appointments to the commission.
The commission next meets Aug. 10.