4:57pm

Wed April 18, 2012
Environment

Colorado Oil and Gas Task Force Issues Final Report

The governor’s task force studying oil and gas regulations in Colorado is recommending that state regulators work collaboratively with local governments to solve drilling disputes, but the final report sent to Governor Hickenlooper Wednesday stops short of recommending any new legislation.

Colorado oil and gas regulators and the Governor have long argued it’s the state’s authority to regulate most drilling. But their task force’s report does have a list of recommendations that could give local governments concerned about the recent boom more tools than they currently have - including the ability to hire their own well inspectors who would then be trained by the state.

“The task force has provided a roadmap for how best to deal with issues of local control,” Gov. Hickenlooper said, in a prepared statement. “We very much appreciate the task force members’ time and commitment to finding collaborative solutions.”

In a conference call with reporters, Charlie Montgomery of the Colorado Environmental Coalition said he’s pleased with the task force’s report, but says there’s more work to be done.

"We just have to figure out what we can do to try to really do the best job protecting schools, neighborhoods, houses when drilling and fracking is coming in really close to where people live," Montgomery said.

The task force did not make any recommendations on one of the thorniest issues – whether setbacks buffering drill rigs from homes and schools ought to be lengthened, though the state oil and gas conservation commission has launched its own study of that issue.