DENVER -- The Latest on an oil and gas project in a suburban Denver neighborhood (all times local):
The Colorado Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that would dramatically change how the state regulates oil and gas.
Senators endorsed the bill Tuesday. It faces another vote in the Senate before moving to the House for a series of committee hearings.
Currently, the top priority of regulators is encouraging production, and only the commission can regulate well locations, not local officials.
The bill would also change the rules for "forced pooling," a process that allows a single energy company to tap oil and gas owned by several people or companies and distribute the profits among them.
Earlier Tuesday, regulators approved a forced pooling proposal for a fiercely contested project in the Denver suburb of Broomfield.
Opponents of a major oil and gas project in a suburban Denver neighborhood say they're disappointed the state didn't block the drilling, but they're pleased that regulators described state laws as outdated.
The state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on Tuesday approved a request by Extraction Oil & Gas to drill for oil that belongs to dozens of owners in suburban Broomfield, including some who don't want to participate.
But some commissioners said state laws weren't written for this kind of project, using new drilling techniques in an urban area.
Opponents are using the same argument in a separate federal lawsuit against the project.
Extraction Oil & Gas said it was happy with the ruling and said it recognizes the work the company as done to accommodate Broomfield's concerns.
A fiercely contested oil and gas project in a residential neighborhood outside Denver has cleared a major hurdle.
State regulators on Tuesday approved a request by Extraction Oil & Gas to drill for oil that belongs to dozens of owners in suburban Broomfield, including some who don't want to participate.
The process is called forced pooling. It was created decades ago to make drilling more efficient, but some Broomfield residents said they felt coerced and intimidated.
Regulators said forced pooling laws are outdated and aren't suited to a project in urban areas, such as Broomfield. But on a 5-1 vote, they said Extraction had met the requirements of the law as written.
The vote came as state lawmakers debated a bill Tuesday that would tighten the requirements for forced pooling.