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Arapahoe County Scraps Proposed Oil and Gas Regs

KUNC file photo

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.

The new regulations would have required the industry to comply with tougher set-backs buffering drill rigs from homes. Like that provision, many of the proposed rules were seen as tougher than the state’s existing rules, and in commission chairman Rod Bockenfeld’s mind, duplicative to what the state already requires. Bockenfeld joined two other fellow Republican commissioners in voting down the proposals.

"I think one of the most critical issues facing our economy today is business confidence, and as we know there has to be a level of predictability," Bockenfeld said. 

The 3-2 vote on party lines followed a four-hour plus meeting in Littleton Tuesday whereby a couple dozen oil and gas industry employees testified against the proposed regulations. 

But about a dozen frustrated citizens like Joan Sieman said the proposals didn’t go far enough.

"Nobody deserves this industry just a few feet from their window," she said.

Sieman and others wanted the county to instead enact a temporary drilling moratorium; a move mulled recently by cities like Longmont and Colorado Springs.   

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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