Group focused on responsible drilling names director

A nonprofit organization that seeks to promote responsible oil and gas development in Garfield, Mesa and Rio Blanco counties has named Nita Smith as its new executive director.

Smith had been serving for three years as coordinator of the group. Sher Long was its previous director.

“Nita has been involved in our community for over 10 years. She knows the oil and gas business as well, making her a perfect fit,” Community Counts President Susan Alvillar said in a news release.

Community Counts seeks to balance the economic and social benefits of oil and gas production with its impacts on communities and the environment, putting an emphasis on accountability and provision of information and education. It is made up of industry, government, individual and other members. Services include a response line, 866-442-9034, that can route callers to around-the-clock contacts with each member oil and gas company when people have odor, traffic, noise or other concerns.

“It is very important to me to help continue the vision and work that Community Counts’ founding members started in 2007. I am very passionate about Community Counts and the way it facilitates open and direct dialogue between our communities and energy operators which helps brings a timely response and resolution to matters of mutual concern,” Smith said in the release.

The next meeting of the Community Counts board is Sept. 10, from 3:30 to 5 p.m., at Parachute Town Hall, 222 Grand Valley Way. More information on the group may be found at


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