DENVER – Collaboration and negotiation allowed Colorado to draw up oil and gas regulations that protect the public and the environment while encouraging a lucrative state industry, the governor and the president of an industry group say.
Gov. John Hickenlooper and American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard talked Thursday about regulation, the future of the industry and the possibility of limits on hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
Hickenlooper — a Democrat and a former petroleum geologist — and Gerard appeared together at an industry forum in Denver. Gerard discussed the industry later in an interview with The Associated Press. Here are some of the issues they discussed:
RESTRICTIONS ON FRACKING:
Proposals to allow local governments to ban fracking, or to increase the minimum distance between new wells and buildings, could expose the state to expensive lawsuits, Hickenlooper said.
Mineral rights are considered property, and imposing rules that effectively keep drilling companies from getting to oil and gas would amount to an illegal “taking,” he said. “We’ve got to be cautious here about what we’re doing,” he said.
Some groups are pushing to get measures on the November ballot that could restrict fracking. Gerard said Colorado already has a process in place to discuss and change the rules, if needed. “We believe the process is working. We believe it’s unnecessary to put anything on the statewide ballot,” he said.