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Experienced geologist becomes county’s new oil and gas liaison

Post Independent/Kelley Cox Diane Kocis is the new oil and gas liaison for Garfield County.
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Garfield County’s new oil and gas liaison, Diane Kocis, began her first day on the job Monday with an introduction to the county commissioners.The geologist brings many years of experience with oil and gas production and environmental compliance to the job . She replaces the county’s first oil and gas liaison, Doug Dennison, who left three months ago after two and a half years with the county, to take a job with Occidental Petroleum Corp. in Grand Junction.Kocis, who grew up in North Tarrytown, N.Y., has a bachelor’s degree in geology from the State University of New York in Brockport, and a masters in petrology with a specialization in geochemistry from the University of Rhode Island.

Her career has taken her to Texas and Grand Junction in both petroleum and oil and gas production and environmental compliance work. In Grand Junction, she worked for the Department of Energy’s Uranium Resource Evaluation Program, which identified uranium sources in the West.”I got paid to fly around in a helicopter and hike a lot,” she said.She was a product geologist for a major petroleum production company in West Texas but left when she had her second child.”It was not compatible with nursing a baby and changing diapers,” she said. The job was “more like sleeping in the back of a Suburban” and being on hand to make sure production ran smoothly.She came back to Grand Junction in 1991 to work for RUST Geotech in the environmental department, which cleaned up petroleum spills.

After moving to North Carolina to take care of her mother after her father died in 1996, Kocis returned in 2001 to Grand Junction to work for a company that specialized in mine remediation. Most recently, and for the last three years, Kocis worked for an environmental consulting company conducting baseline water sampling in the Dry Hollow area south of Silt.As county oil and gas liaison, Kocis will act as a go-between for county government and residents who are feeling the effects of natural gas development.The job was created in response to growing oil and gas production in rural western Garfield County, and more and more complaints about increased traffic, dust and noise.Kocis said a key to her job is an ability to talk to people.



“I’m an eternal optimist,” she said. “I can talk to people about anything.”She said her greatest challenge will be to “make all the stakeholders happy, which I intend to do.” Part of her role will also be public education.”That’s one of our biggest problems, the lack of knowledge on the part of some of the stakeholder groups,” said Jess Smith, who took over Dennison’s job after he left and is also assistant county manager.Besides working with residents of the county, Kocis will also take an active part in the Energy Advisory Board, a group of residents and industry representatives who meet monthly to discuss issues related to oil and gas development in the county.


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