Arapahoe County commissioners have voted down proposed, tougher regulations governing oil and gas drilling. The county south of Denver had been the latest local government to consider tightening its laws as drilling has begun to boom in populated areas along the Front Range.
At a hearing this morning, Colorado regulators will consider a new rule that would force oil and gas companies to disclose what chemicals they use when hydraulically fracturing wells. The industry uses these chemicals along with a mix of water and sand to “frack” wells deep beneath the earth. Nearby states like Wyoming and Texas recently put similar “mandatory disclosure” laws on the books and many oil and gas companies have recently come on board with Colorado's proposal. But some say the rule doesn’t go far enough.
The tough economy has taken its toll on most states, putting budgets deep in the red and putting people out of work.
But North Dakota has a low 3.5 percent unemployment rate and a state budget with a billion dollar surplus. That's because of a major oil boom in the western part of the state, a discovery of at least 2 billion barrels to be gained by fracking — the controversial process of injecting fluid deep into underground rock formations to force the oil out.
The Colorado Springs city council has unanimously passed an emergency ordinance banning oil and gas drilling while officials review whether existing laws need to be tightened to protect groundwater and other resources.
Weld County and many of its communities are enjoying a windfall thanks to the oil-and-gas boom over the last couple years. KUNC’s Erin O’Toole talks with Jeff Nuttall, publisher of the Northern Colorado Business Report, about some of the impacts from the boom.