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EPA Appoints Gregory Sopkin As Region 8 Administrator

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WASHINGTON  – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the appointment of Gregory Sopkin of Colorado to become regional administrator for Region 8.  Mr. Sopkin will oversee environmental protection efforts in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana,  and in 27  tribal nations.

Gregory Sopkin has spent much of his career working in public service and private legal practice in Colorado.  Mr. Sopkin will join the agency having worked for the last 12 years on energy, environment, and telecommunications matters. He most recently worked at Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP.

“Greg’s experience in public service and familiarity with the western region make him a great fit to lead the Region 8 office,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “I look forward to working with Greg to advance the Agency’s mission and protect human health and the environment for our mountain west residents.”

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Sopkin served as Chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission from January 2003 to January 2007 where he was responsible for conducting quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative proceedings, drafting legal decisions, meeting with state legislators, and investigating service outages.  He also served as Assistant Attorney General from September 1997 to August 2000 where he represented the Colorado Public Utilities Commission Staff electric, gas and telecommunications proceedings before the Commission, and the PUC in appeals to District Court, Colorado Supreme Court, and Federal Courts.  

Widespread Praise for Sopkin’s Appointment:

"Region Administrators play an important role in environmental regulations that greatly impact local communities," said U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer. "As a fellow former state utilities regulator, I am confident Greg will support policies and guidelines that meet the needs of North Dakota and the other states he oversees, rather than attempting to implement a one-size-fits all approach. I am thankful to Administrator Wheeler for appointing Greg, and I look forward to working with him on issues that affect our great state."

"I appreciate Gregory Sopkin’s deep commitment to public service," said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. "The protection of our land, air, and water depends on sound leadership at the EPA Region 8 office. Having a Coloradan with a background steeped in law and government administration will be valuable as we take on important issues in the future. I look forward to working with him."

"Greg brings a long and distinguished record of public service to this new responsibility, and I know he will serve our region well," said former Colorado Governor Bill Owens.

"I look forward to working with Greg to continue the productive working relationship that Montana and Region 8 EPA have developed over the years," said Montana Director of Environmental Quality Shaun McGrath. "While progress has been made in the past several years there is a lot work left to be done across the State. While I know that there is going to be a lot of demands on his time, I look forward to hosting him in Montana as soon as possible."

"We welcome Mr. Sopkin to his important new role and look forward to building on our constructive partnership with EPA Region 8 to protect the health of Utah's people and beautiful environment," said Utah Department of Environmental Quality Alan Matheson. "Because many environmental issues in Utah are tied to energy, his background as a practical problem-solver in this sector will be particularly valuable." 

"Greg’s experience and background make him an excellent choice for EPA Region 8 Administrator," said Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality Director Todd Parfitt. "With Greg’s background in state government he understands the important role that states play in preserving and protecting the environment. I look forward to continuing the collaborative relationship that has developed between Wyoming and EPA.”"

"Given South Dakota’s heavy reliance on agriculture for our economic base and energy to fuel our premier industries of agriculture and tourism I welcome Mr. Sopkin’s leadership of Region 8," said South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioner Chris Nelson. "We look forward to his aggressive work to protect our water, air, and soil while engaging pragmatically with our affected industries."  

“Greg has a rare combination of talents," said former Montana Public Service Commissioner Travis Kavulla. "He is a charismatic leader, but with a reputation for studiousness. He is unafraid to say when something that has long been done is no longer working, but he’s not out to start new projects just for his or anyone else’s ego. Greg is the type of person you would want in an EPA regional administrator, especially in a region that has so many major, ongoing projects, including in Montana.”