COGA hires new senior VP |

COGA hires new senior VP

Phillip Yates
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The Colorado Oil and Gas Association announced earlier this week it has hired a new staff member to focus on legislative issues and other policy matters affecting the state’s oil and gas industry.

The hiring comes as the industry trade group has had a particularly frosty relationship with state officials, especially Colo. Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, this year. Most of the consternation between the two sides has been over new rules for the oil and gas industry, along with Amendment 58, which would have removed a property tax credit that can largely reduce a company’s severance tax bill. That ballot initiative went down in defeat Nov. 4 by a significant margin.

The industry trade group said John Swartout, who is currently the executive director of Greater Outdoors Colorado, will join the association on December 1 as senior vice president for policy and government affairs.

COGA, in its announcement of Swartout’s hiring, said he has the ability “to work among stakeholders with diverse interests to achieve a positive outcome and for building strong bipartisan relationships with officials throughout the state.”

Swartout, who was once a senior policy advisor to former Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican, will focus his time on public policy matters, both in the regulatory and legislative arenas, according to the COGA statement.

Swartout said the relatively testy relationship the trade group has had with state officials “may have played a role” in his hiring. He said his previous experience working with elected representatives on important issues like the future of Rocky Flats was a key factor in his hiring.

“I have always thought there needs to be a balance between energy and environment,” Swartout said. “The problem and the key is finding the right balance. Industry wants certainty [for] regulatory structure so they can make these long-term capital investments. Oil and natural gas are a part of energy future. It makes sense to come to a consensus.”

In addition to his work on regulatory and legislative matters, Swartout will also focus on media communications to make sure the groups “messaging and advocacy efforts remain seamlessly aligned,” according to a statement from the trade group.

“We have a great regard for John Swartout. He has been an able director of GOCO and the DNR has worked collaboratively with him on many occasions,” said Harris Sherman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. “We’re pleased to see he has accepted this new role with COGA and we’re looking forward to a collaborative and productive relationship with him.”

Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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