The Latest: Colorado lawmakers start on oil, gas overhaul

DENVER — The Latest on a proposal to overhaul Colorado’s oil and gas regulations (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

Supporters of a plan to overhaul Colorado’s oil and gas regulations say it’s a common-sense approach to dealing with frequent conflicts over health and safety, but opponents say it goes too far and could lead to a virtual ban on drilling in some areas.

A state Senate committee held the first hearing Tuesday on a bill back by majority Democrats that would dramatically change the way Colorado oversees the industry.

It would change the state’s top priority from promoting oil and gas to protecting human health and safety, and it would give local governments authority over the location of new wells, a power now held only by state regulators.

Opponents say the bill threatens the health of a vital industry and is being rushed. Backers deny the allegations.

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12 a.m.

Colorado’s Democratic-controlled Legislature is taking the first step toward a major overhaul of state oil and gas regulations, despite objections from Republicans and industry representatives who say the changes are being rushed.

The Senate Transportation and Energy Committee scheduled a hearing for Tuesday on a bill that would dramatically shift the role of state regulators. It would make human health and environmental protection their highest priority, not energy production, as it is now.

The bill would also give local governments significant authority to regulate the location of new wells. Currently, only the state has that power.

The text of the bill was released late Friday. The hearing Tuesday represents an unusually quick turnaround.

Industry representatives asked for a delay. Republicans accused Democrats of hurrying the process to limit debate.

Published at Wed, 06 Mar 2019 00:14:54 +0000