Tony Webster/

COGA Rises to the Top

It’s a time of great flux in Colorado.

First-year governor Jared Polis has taken it upon himself to turn the state’s in-house energy proponent, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), into a body focused on regulation, not support of the state’s oil and gas industry. In the vacuum created by the COGCC’s forced transformation, however, another group has stepped forward to assume the role of energy-industry champion.

Perhaps Governor Jared Polis thought he was ridding himself of opposition when he gutted the COGCC, but he didn’t count on the folks at the Colorado Oil and Gas Organization (COGA) picking up the fight.

A Friend Among Tradespeople

Since they were founded in 1984, the people of COGA have pursued the environmentally-responsible development of Colorado’s oil and gas reserves with quiet determination. While the COGCC gave quotes to the press, COGA stuck to trade professionals, accruing a membership of hundreds of companies filled with like-minded employees.

The guiding philosophy behind COGA was (and still is) the quiet support of the thousands of men and women supported by the state’s oil and gas industry. That work was made more complicated in the wake of the drastic changes overtaking the COGCC.

Marching Forward in a New Colorado

At COGA’s recent Energy Summit, Haley invited Governor Polis to speak at a forum entitled, “Can You Still Drill for Oil in a Blue State?” It’s a pressing question in a state where oil and gas employees are in fear for their economic well-being. Though he accepted the invitation and showed up to the event, Polis still dismissed the entire topic of the conversation as “silly.”

Over the next hour, Haley tried calmly to explain COGA’s concern for the state’s energy future, even as the governor repeatedly scoffed at those fears.

Taking the Reigns

Throughout 2019, CEO and president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Dan Haley, has become a fixture in the headlines. In just a few short months, he’s gone from the head of a benevolent trade organization to the de facto voice of Colorado’s oil and gas industry and, by extension, thousands of people who work in oil and gas each day.

When Adams County enacted new regulations in the last week, it was COGA and Dan Haley who stepped forward to call out the harsh rules for what they were: a ban on oil and gas development.

It was just the latest of a growing number of moments when a COGA rep has stepped up to speak out for the people on the ground in Colorado.

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