DENVER — Colorado’s Senate has passed a contentious bill to grant more local control over oil and gas drilling operations.
The Democrat-controlled chamber voted 19-15 along party lines Wednesday to send the bill to the House, where Democratic Speaker KC Becker is a sponsor of the legislation.
The bill would make public safety the top priority of state regulators and give local governments authority over the location of new wells. Currently, production is the primary goal, and the state determines well locations.
Republicans fought ferociously against the bill, which was rushed through the Senate by Democrats.
They argue it will eliminate jobs, hurt rural economies and deter investment in Colorado’s multibillion-dollar oil and gas industry.
Supporters say wells are being drilled too close to neighborhoods and environmentally sensitive areas.