A future fracking site is set to be close to an Aurora neighborhood near East 3rd Avenue and Powhaton Road. Officials at Houston-based ConocoPhillips plan to suspend drilling efforts in Aurora this year amidst a drastic drop in crude oil prices, following the lead of an energy industry slowdown nationwide. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

DENVER | Colorado’s House has approved a bill to emphasize public safety, health, and local control when it comes to regulating oil and gas drilling.

The bill, whose prime sponsor is Democratic House Speaker KC Becker, passed on a 36-28 party line vote on Friday. A handful of Democrats, mostly from oil-rich areas of the state, voted against the measure with all House Republicans.

It awaits approval of amendments by the Democrat-led Senate before going to Gov. Jared Polis, who supports the overhaul.

The initiative would mandate that state regulators prioritize public safety and health in overseeing the industry. The current mission of the state’s Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is to treat production as a primary goal.

The bill also empowers local municipalities with a say in where drilling can occur.

Republicans and the industry argue the overhaul will harm oil and gas production and the tax revenue it generates.


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