Colorado expands buffer zone between schools, oil-gas wells

DENVER — Colorado oil and gas regulators have expanded the mandatory buffer zone between new wells and school property.

The state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission voted Tuesday to require that new wells be at least 1,000 feet from any outdoor area or building that schools and day care centers use.

The old rules require the same size buffer zone but measured it only from buildings, not outdoor areas. That allowed wells to be drilled closer to playgrounds and sports fields.

The rule also applies to future facilities if schools plan to have them in place within three years.

Sara Loflin, director of an advocacy group called the League of Oil and Gas Impacted Coloradans, said the change was overdue but welcome.

The Colorado Petroleum Council supported the change.

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