Bill Revamping Oil, Gas Regulation in Colorado Headed to Governor After Senate OKs Amendments

April 3, 2019

A contentious bill overhauling how oil and gas is regulated in Colorado is headed to the governor’s desk after the Senate on Wednesday approved amendments made in the House.

The Senate voted 19-16 - all Democrats voted “yes” and all Republicans voted “no” - for Senate Bill 19-181 .

The bill makes protecting public health and safety and the environment a priority when considering oil and gas projects. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the main regulatory body, would no longer be charged with fostering development.

It also allows cities and counties to regulate oil and gas development under their planning and land-use powers, something communities have requested as drilling has increased in and near the growing cities and counties north and east of Denver.

Hundreds of people spoke for and against the legislation during Senate and House committee hearings. The oil and gas industry and its supporters, including several business organizations and elected officials from energy-producing areas, called on lawmakers to slow the bill down to give people more time to weigh in.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, one of the bill’s main sponsors, said many of the amendments approved through six committee hearings and debate in the House and Senate were in response to the industry’s concerns. The changes will create certainty for the industry as well as people affected by drilling, Fenberg said.