Colorado local-control drilling rule changes get initial OK in state Senate


DENVER | The Colorado Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that would dramatically change how the state regulates oil and gas.

Senators endorsed the bill Tuesday. It faces another vote in the Senate before moving to the House for a series of committee hearings.

The bill would make the protection of public health and the environment the top priority of regulators, and it would give local governments new authority over where new wells can be drilled.

Currently, the top priority of regulators is encouraging production, and only the commission can regulate well locations, not local officials.

The bill would also change the rules for “forced pooling,” a process that allows a single energy company to tap oil and gas owned by several people or companies and distribute the profits among them.

Earlier Tuesday, regulators approved a forced pooling proposal for a fiercely contested project in the Denver suburb of Broomfield.