A state lawmaker plans to introduce legislation as early as this week that would give local governments more authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing, a move that comes as many local governments have looked to limit or temporarily ban fracking within their boundaries.
Oil and gas rigs have been popping up in suburban and even urban neighborhoods atop the Niobrara Shale formation, which includes much of Louisville Democrat Matt Jones’s state house district. He says current state setback requirements that drill rigs be 350 feet away from homes or schools in urban areas simply aren’t tough enough.
"For medical marijuana, it’s a thousand feet," Jones says. "So if it’s good enough for medical marijuana to be a thousand feet from a school, it’s good enough for an oil and gas operation to be a thousand feet."
But state oil and gas regulators, as well as Governor Hickenlooper and several legislative leaders, have already come out in opposition of Jones’s proposal. They say a county by county patchwork of regulations won’t serve anyone's interest, including local landowners or oil and gas companies.