Trump appoints Colorado-based utility executive as EPA’s Rocky Mountain region director |

Trump appoints Colorado-based utility executive as EPA’s Rocky Mountain region director

Doug Benevento will oversee Superfund, water-quality issues in Colorado, five other states

Then-school board member Doug Benevento is pictured on Dec. 7, 2010 in Castle Rock.
Karl Gehring/Denver Post file photo

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday named Doug Benevento as the top EPA official for the Rocky Mountain region — a move that elevates the utility executive from Highlands Ranch into one of the most closely watched federal jobs in Colorado.

It also returns Benevento to the public eye after the conservative policymaker resigned from the Douglas County School Board in 2016 following a tenure in which he championed school vouchers and often clashed with the teacher’s union.

“What I want to do is step in and really empower our state and local partners,” said Benevento, who is expected to start Oct. 16 as the Region 8 director of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The division oversees EPA efforts in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and 27 tribal nations and recently was most visible in its handling of the Gold King Mine disaster. Its regional headquarters is based in Denver, and staff there oversee a broad range of issues, from water quality monitoring to local Superfund sites.

Benevento comes to the job after serving more than a decade ago as head of the Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment.  He said his current position is director of energy policy at Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy. He works out of the company’s Denver office.

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