State House OKs controversial oil-and-gas local control bill 36-28; back to the state Senate

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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.