Colorado won't halt drilling as it refocuses rules on safety

ABC News | 5/21/2019 | Staff
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Colorado officials said Tuesday that they had no plans to stop energy companies from drilling for oil and gas while regulators overhaul state rules to make health, safety and the environment their top priority.

Dan Gibbs, chief of the state Department of Natural Resources, said lawmakers did not want a moratorium on drilling permits while regulators rewrite the rules under a new law that shifted the state's focus from production to protection.

Intent - Legislature - Work - Gibbs - Colorado

"It was never the intent of the Legislature that we pause our work," Gibbs told the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which will implement the new law. The commission is part of Gibbs' department.

Some environmentalists and community activists have demanded the commission stop issuing permits until the new rules are complete. They argue that drilling makes climate change worse, pollutes Colorado's air and water, and puts nearby residents at risk from fires and explosions.

Industry - Executives - Workers - Moratorium - Janet

Industry executives and workers argued against a moratorium. Janet Rost, whose company helps secure mineral rights, said she is a single mother and a cancer survivor who depends on the industry for her livelihood.

"Please don't pass a moratorium," she told the commissioners.

Tuesday - Meeting - Time - Oil - Gas

Tuesday's meeting was the first time the oil and gas commission met since Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed the law mandating sweeping changes in regulations.

In addition to the new focus on protecting the public and the environment, the law gives local governments some authority over the location of wells.

Changes - Colorado - Attempt - Oil - Gas

The changes are Colorado's latest attempt to balance its booming oil and gas industry with a burgeoning population. The state's crude oil production has quadrupled since 2010, and it now ranks sixth in the...
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