Colorado Senate passes oil and gas reform bill, sends it to Gov. Polis

DENVER — The Colorado Senate passed a controversial oil and gas reform bill on Wednesday and sent it to Gov. Jared Polis, who is expected to sign it into law.

Senate bill 19-181 would make public safety the top priority of state regulators and give local governments authority over the location of new wells.

The Senate passed the bill earlier this month, but the Colorado House made amendments last week, forcing a final vote in the Senate. The bill passed on a party-line vote, 19-16.

“The governor is thrilled to see it pass,” Polis spokeswoman Laurie Cipriano said. “This bill protects the health and safety of Colorado families and communities and it represents a meaningful step forward for the state.”

Republicans fought the bill, saying it will eliminate jobs, hurt rural economies and deter investment in the state’s multbillion-dollar oil and gas industry.

“While a few critical amendments were added that begin to address some of industry’s concerns and provide a degree of certainty to our member companies, our industry remains firmly opposed to this bill because it threatens one of the pillars of Colorado’s economy,” the Colorado Petroleum Council and Colorado Oil and Gas Association said in a joint statement.

Democratic supporters say the wells are being drilled too close to neighborhoods and environmentally sensitive areas.

“These are the protections Coloradans are clamoring for,” said Sam Gilchrist, Western campaigns director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “They’re vital for our health and safety and are needed nationwide.”

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