Mike King, the Executive Director of Colorado’s Department of Natural Resources is leaving the position at the end of January to become Denver Water’s Director of planning. Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland sat down with him to talk about the future of the oil and gas and fracking debate, and his time heading the agency.
Interview Highlights with Mike King:
The biggest challenge he’s faced working under three Governors for almost a decade at the Department:
“Oil and gas has dominated the agenda…this is an industrial activity where people live and play and it’s almost inevitable that the conflicts we’ve seen would arise. Now we’re trying to work through those and see if we can come up with some better ways to engage communities and local governments early in the process to minimize some of those conflicts,” said King.”
On whether the state is headed for a ballot fight over fracking and the current state rulemaking to give communities more input:
“There are clearly some local governments that want to be able to say yes or no. This rulemaking won’t provide that veto power to local governments. That’s going to come through legislation or ultimately an initiative process; which I think would be a fairly draconian way to go about trying to resolve this issue,” said King.
Advise for his successor:
“I hope you’re heart is strong. This is a position where you take a lot of criticism. You have to come in with a dose of humility and also a strong sense of right and wrong and know that people are not going to agree with you at every turn. That’s the hardest thing, is knowing that you’re making people mad,” said King.