1:00pm

Thu March 22, 2012
Environment

Hickenlooper Oil and Gas Task Force up against Tight Deadline

Some members of the Governor’s oil and gas task force studying whether local governments should have more authority to regulate drilling are worried they won’t finish their work by an April 18th deadline. 

That’s when the appointed task force is set to issue a report to Governor Hickenlooper. 

The task force is aiming to settle thorny conflicts between the state and local governments when it comes to regulating oil and gas drilling.  Its formation comes as some cities and counties along the Front Range have moved to ban drilling.

So far the task force has met three times, and has three more meetings before a report on possible legislative fixes is due to the Governor.  Some at the panel's meeting Thursday said that’s too tight of a deadline, but its chairman Mike King, disagrees.

"There’s never enough time and my personal opinion is that the tight deadline we’re on is actually going to spur us to come up with a product that I think will be solid," King said. "My gut tells me that we don’t need more time."

King, who’s also the Governor’s appointed director of the Department of Natural Resources, figures the panel has two options in the weeks ahead; either try to clarify the current legal ambiguity over how much authority local governments have to regulate drilling, or, the course he prefers, draft a better process for local concerns to be heard by the state.