Home » Coordinator’s Bio’s

Peter Butler, Ph.D., Co-Coordinator

Peter Butler has been involved in Colorado water issues in various capacities for thirty years and has been working with the Animas River Stakeholders Group (ARSG) since its inception twenty-one years ago. He was one of the three co-authors of Use Attainability Analysis for the upper Animas Basin which led to the current set of water quality standards. He is currently one of the co-coordinators of group.

Peter has a bachelor’s degree in physics, a master’s degree in economics, and a Ph.D. in Natural Resource Policy from the University of Michigan. His Ph.D. is a combination of economics, water law, hydrology, and water quality management. He was appointed to the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission by three different governors, serving a total a total of nine years, three years as chair. He was recently appointed by the governor to the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission and to a second term to the Southern Ute/State of Colorado Environmental Commission.

Peter served as the chair of the La Plata County Water Advisory Commission for six years, advising the La Plata County Commissioners on local water issues. He worked periodically for ten years as a visiting professor at Ft. Lewis College, and was previously an instructor at both the University of Colorado and University of Michigan. In addition, he has worked for the Rocky Mountain Institute in Snowmass, CO, and the Natural Resources Law Center at the University of Colorado Law School. He has served as the past president of the Lake Durango Water Authority and the executive director of Friends of the Animas River.

Stephen C. Fearn P.E., Co-Coordinator

Steve, along with Peter Butler and Bill Simon, was one of the founders of the Animas River Stakeholder Group in 1994 and participated in developing the Use Attainability Analysis for the upper Animas River Basin. Steve has participated in and been responsible for design, construction and maintenance of several water quality improvement projects related to legacy mining issues in the upper Animas River Basin. He currently serves as one of the co-coordinators of the group.

Steve has been involved in industrial water quality issues relating to technical applications, permitting and compliance since 1969, beginning with the design and operation of electric utility power generation stations and followed by engineering and operation applications in the metal mining industry. He has worked in the metal mining industry for over 40 years in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and the Republic of Indonesia.

Steve has been engaged in state and local water development issues for over 20 years and is a Director of the Southwestern Water Conservation District; Director of the Colorado Water Congress; Trustee of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education; and, is working with the River Protection Process in southwestern Colorado.

Steve is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with Bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Business. He is a Registered Professional Engineer. He was appointed by Colorado’s Governors to serve on the 6th Judicial District Review Commission and the 6th Judicial Nominating Commission. Steve served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1961 to 1969. Steve resides in Silverton, Colorado.

William Simon, Coordinator Emeritus

William Simon began his professional career as Assistant Professor at U. of Calif., Berkeley in the Environmental Studies College which he helped found while working on his PhD dissertation in evolutionary ecology. He was also on the founding committee of the first Earth Day.

In 1970 he returned to his home state of Colorado to start Alpine Mine Construction and Alpine Environmental Services (AES) which provided support for the exploration, development, and reclamation of properties for several dozen mining companies and the USFS, BLM, and the Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology (1972-1994). AES also contracted wetland delineation and restoration work for USFS and private industry. As company principal, Mr. Simon inventoried the fens of San Juan County for the USFS and evaluated the potential and made recommendations for the restoration of damaged areas. He also contracted with the National Park Service to evaluate disturbances and make recommendations for restoration of damaged areas within Mesa Verde National Park. He has provided pro-bono mine site restoration to demonstrate restoration possibilities for the mining industry when industry was largely unaware or in denial of their impacts. In cooperation with the USFS he initiated trout habitat restoration in the San Juan Mountains.

Mr. Simon served as an elected San Juan County Commissioner from 1985 through 1989.

In late fall of 1994 he was selected to become the ARSG coordinator. Among the many duties performed he led the mine site characterization program, the water quality monitoring program, and was one of three coauthors of the Use Attainability Analysis (UAA) that was used to determine remediation and stream standard goals. He has obtained funding, project design and oversaw implementation of all reclamation/restoration programs. He peer reviewed most USGS reports generated during the Department of Interiors Abandoned Mine Lands program and co-authored several reports. By 2010, health concerns necessitated a reduction in responsibilities so Peter Butler and Steve Fearn have stepped up as co-coordinators to help replace Bill.