CO Department of Public Health and Environment earlier this year as the state's Oil and Gas Planner. We recently caught up with Kimberly and learned more about what it means to be an Oil and Gas Planner.
Kimberly's primary responsibility is to collaborate with citizens, local municipalities, other states and the federal government to work on the planning and development of oil and gas operations. She shared, "Our goal as a Division is to ensure that oil and gas projects are being appropriately scoped, planned, and managed in a way that allows for the safe exploration and production of these energy resources without harming public health or the environment."
Her role includes a lot of stakeholder engagement, and involves anything from speaking to community groups about the impacts of oil and gas development, working with the oil and gas industry to ensure that they are in compliance with current state regulations, assisting local governments plan for oil and gas activities within their communities, collaborating with other states in our efforts to come up with effective oil and gas regulations, and assisting the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service in conducting Environmental Assessments on air quality impacts of oil and gas production in Colorado and throughout the region as a part of their National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis.
When asked where she see's herself in a few years, Kimberly replied, "I am starting to become more involved in the inspection and permitting of oil and gas operations across the state of Colorado as well. My Division has a phenomenal oil and gas enforcement and permitting group, so I am being trained to conduct inspections as a part of this newly expanded team that is tasked with conducting on-site inspections as a way to ensure that oil and gas operators are conducting their work in a manner that is environmentally sound with appropriate control devices to reduce harmful emissions."
Kimberly worked for an oil and gas operator in North Dakota last year when an industry colleague told her that the state of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was creating a brand new position that focused specifically on our state’s oil and gas development with a particular emphasis on public health impacts as they relate to air quality. "I thought that my background as both a licensed nurse and environmental law practitioner would be a great fit for this new position, so I applied."