By Mark Jaffe – The Denver Post – May 03, 2013
A wave of bills in the Colorado legislature to increase oversight of the state’s oil and gas operations has hit a nearly immovable dike in Hickenlooper administration officials and industry lobbyists.
Two bills have died in committee, controversial provisions were removed from two more, and a fifth may not muster enough votes for final passage, its sponsors say.
“Even though we may not pass many bills, we’ve done a lot of work, a lot of research,” said House Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder.
“This is just the start,” said Hollinghorst, who said her groundwater-testing bill, HB-1316, may not get enough Senate support to pass.
As oil and gas drilling has expanded on the Front Range, so has concern among residents in more suburban areas.
“All anyone wanted to talk about was drilling rigs, not the economy or jobs, oil and gas drilling,” said Sen. Matt Jones, D-Louisville.
Spurred by those constituents, Democratic lawmakers filed eight bills aimed at oil and gas drilling oversight and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the agency that regulates the industry.