One of the Colorado Legislature’s staunchest advocates of increased oil and gas regulation is poised to introduce a bill this week that would push wells back further from school properties.

Rep. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, said his coming proposal will require all drilling activity to be at least 1,000 feet away from school boundaries, extending the current setbacks, which are currently 1,000 feet from school buildings.

While supporters say the change will be a minor one meant to increase public health and safety, oil and gas industry leaders say the increased setbacks could block off a lot of prime drilling land around rural schools and could reduce the money those schools receive from property-tax revenues.

Foote, who has tried unsuccessfully before to extend more regulatory authority over oil and gas operations to local governments, said the bill is aimed at alleviating disputes that are cropping up increasingly in various parts of the state.

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