Colorado plan to focus oil rules on safety advances in early-morning, 4-3 vote

steve fenberg oil and gas.jpg
Posted at 11:32 AM, Mar 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 13:32:01-05

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado Senate committee has advanced a bill that would overhaul oil and gas regulations to give local governments more authority over industry operations.

The Senate Transportation and Energy Committee voted 4-3 early Wednesday to send the bill to the chamber's Finance Committee.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Stephen Fenberg, a bill co-sponsor, says it's a common-sense approach to dealing with frequent conflicts over health and safety.

Opponents say it could lead to a virtual ban on drilling in some areas and cost jobs.

Drilling sparks frequent political battles, especially in fast-growing communities north of Denver, which overlap the rich Wattenberg oil and gas field.

The proposal would charge the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates the industry, with protecting people and the environment first, not promoting energy production.