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Senate passes oil and gas overhaul bill

SB 19-181 refocuses Colorado oil and gas regulations on health and safety. On Wednesday, the bill passed the Senate in 19-15 vote.
Credit: istockphoto

DENVER — A plan to refocus Colorado's oil and gas regulations on health and safety passed another milestone in the Legislature.

The Senate passed SB 19-181 in a 19-15 vote after more than 30 hours total of debate during three public committee hearings and two Senate floor debates.

"The bill enhances local governments' ability to protect public health, safety, and welfare and the environment by clarifying, reinforcing, and establishing their regulatory authority over the surface impacts of oil and gas development," according to the Colorado Legislature website.

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Under current law, city and county governments in Colorado can only have authority over oil and gas sites if the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission allows it. Sections 1 and 2 of the bill will repeal this limitation. 

READ | Senate Bill 19-181

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Supporters of the plan have said the measure is a flexible, common-sense approach to dealing with frequent conflicts over health and safety. 

Opponents said it goes too far and could lead to a virtual ban on drilling in some areas that would negatively affect the industry and jobs.

The legislation now heads to the Colorado House of Representatives where it will also undergo three committee hearings that are open to the public and two-floor debates.

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