Ed Sealover – Reporter-Denver Business Journal – April 11, 2013
Colorado House Democrats took two steps toward giving more control over oil and gas drilling to local governments Thursday, as leaders said that they expect to introduce a bill soon allowing cities and counties more rule-making power, and a committee voted to approve a bill allowing new fees on drillers to fund local inspectors.
It’s not known what chances either measure has of becoming law, as Democratic Gov.John Hickenlooper has stated repeatedly that it is in the best interest of the state and its economy to have a single set of oil and gas regulations across Colorado.
But legislative Democrats seem intent on pushing ahead with the measures, setting up a potential confrontation with Hickenlooper.
Democrats have introduced seven bills in the past month to toughen regulations on oil and gas drilling as the industry continues to expand its footprint along the Front Range and Western Slope.
While industry leaders have fought several of the measures, House Majority LeaderDickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Gunbarrel, acknowledged Thursday that her caucus is working to craft the proposal that is likely to inspire the fiercest opposition — a proposal to give local governments power to regulate the industry more heavily than the state does.