Pinson calls it quits as the county oil and gas liaison
Garfield County has developed something of a revolving door around the oil and gas liaison job. The third person to hold the post and the second hired this year resigned the position this week. Tim Pinson, hired in June, spent his last day on the job Thursday.Diane Kocis, hired to the position in January, was fired in March.The first oil and gas liaison, Doug Dennison, spent two and a half years on the job before being lured away for better pay and fewer hassles by Occidental Petroleum, which is developing natural gas resources in the west end of the county.Assistant county manager Jess Smith has filled in between liaisons, and said with the loss of Pinson, it’s time to take a hard look at the position.
“We need to do a reassessment,” he said. “We’re in a state of transition.”While gas development is booming in the county, Smith said oil shale will take over sooner than later as the driving industry.”I’m convinced oil shale will be a bigger player (than gas),” he said. “What our needs will be a year from now I don’t know, but they won’t be what our needs are now.”Smith said Pinson cited family reasons for leaving the job. Privately, Pinson had told people around Rifle, where his office was located, that there was just too much work for one person to keep up with.
The job was created in 2003 in response to increased gas drilling in the western part of the county and increasing complaints from residents about dust, noise and odors. The position is recognized by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which calls it the “local government designee.” The official holding that position is authorized to review applications for drilling permits and act as a liaison between the county, surface land owners and gas companies.During his tenure, Dennison established the county Energy Advisory Board, made up of representatives of industry and citizens both for and against gas development, who meet monthly to discuss pressing issues.Pinson came to the job from Denver, where he consulted to the oil and gas industry. Previously, he worked for over 20 years in Alaska, first on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, the 800-mile long conduit that brings oil from Prudhoe Bay south to the ice-free port of Valdez. He also worked on the Kuparuk oil field next to Prudhoe Bay.
Smith said he was sorry to see Pinson go.”He was a good fit. I thought we made a good team,” he said. “Now it’s back to the drawing board.”Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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