Bill to focus Colorado oil rules on safety clears 2nd hurdle

DENVER — A proposal to refocus Colorado oil and gas regulations on health and safety has cleared another hurdle in the Legislature after seven hours of testimony.

The Senate Finance Committee approved the Democratic-sponsored bill Thursday along party lines, 4-3. Another panel endorsed the bill early Wednesday after 12 hours of testimony.

It faces up to four more hearings before final votes.

The bill would make public safety the top priority of regulators and give local governments authority over the location of new wells. Currently, production is the primary goal, and only the state can determine well locations.

Opponents say the bill would stifle a multibillion-dollar industry and cost jobs. Supporters say the industry is exaggerating the impacts. They say wells are being drilled too close to neighborhoods and environmentally sensitive areas.

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