DENVER — The governor’s office is now accepting applications for the permanent board overseeing oil and gas drilling in the state.

Those applications are part of the remake of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission under a controversial new law approved by the Colorado Legislature last year.

Unlike the last commission before the passage of SB181, the commission will be a full-time, “professional” panel, meaning that its seven members will be full-time employees of the state. Two of those members are already decided because they are the heads or their designees of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The remaining five are to be appointed by the governor.

“These five full-time members will help in the continued implementation of SB19-181 with rule making, setting policy and working with our communities and industry to ensure Colorado’s oil and gas operations are protective of public health, safety, welfare, wildlife and the environment,” said commission Director Jeff Robbins.

Those five things are the crux of what changed under SB181. Prior to that, the commission’s duty was to advance drilling in the state, with health, safety and welfare a secondary concern.

Under the new law, the new commission is to include one member with substantial experience in the oil and gas industry, one experienced in planning or land use, one with substantial training in environmental or wildlife protection, and one trained in public health matters.

The qualifications for the fifth member are somewhat hazy because they could apply to just about anyone. By law, the person must be someone who has professional experience to help the commission make “sound, balanced decisions.”

The law does require the members to hail from various parts of the state, but at least two must be from the Western Slope.

No more than three of those five can come from the same political party.

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