Former Colorado Assistant Attorney General Matthew Lepore on Monday took the reins as director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC).

Lepore, who had been working for the Denver-based Beatty and Wozniak law firm, formerly was lead counsel for the COGCC. He previously represented Colorado on several issues including environmental protection, permitting and regulatory enforcement. As a private lawyer Lepore specialized in natural resource and environmental law.

“I look forward to leading the commission as we continue to bring together people of diverse views to ensure our energy resources are developed with the highest regard for the communities, landscapes and environments that we care for so deeply,” Lepore said. “Colorado is recognized as a national leader in working through the many challenges of energy development and we intend to continue serving as a model the country can follow.”

In an interview with the Coloradoan earlier this month, Lepore said it was “pretty clear” that the oil and natural gas industry needed to be regulated. Unlike the people who work for the industry, he said, corporations “don’t have a conscience. Industry’s motive is to make money. If allowed, corporations will externalize costs. So environmental regulations are one way in which we ensure corporations internalize costs appropriately.”

The COGCC now employs 17 oil and gas inspectors, who inspected an estimated 20% of the state’s wells in the last fiscal year, he noted. No more inspectors have been budgeted, Lenore told the newspaper. The COGCC, he said, should focus its inspection efforts on wells being drilled and stimulated using hydraulic fracturing.

“Matt provided exceptional representation to the commission through his role as assistant attorney, and we expect him to build on that work in his new role overseeing the commission staff and working with commission members and stakeholders — including local governments, neighbors, citizens groups and the regulated industry,” said Colorado Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Mike King.