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Hickenlooper Enters Drilling Regulation Fray

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Gov. John Hickenlooper (credit: CBS)

Gov. John Hickenlooper (credit: CBS)

DENVER (AP) – Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is stepping into a dispute between local governments and the oil and gas industry over drilling.

The Democratic governor announced a task force Wednesday made up of energy industry executives, city and county officials, environmental groups and lawmakers. The goal is to settle whether local jurisdictions can put limits on drilling, or whether the state alone has such power.

Hickenlooper, a former geologist, has said that each Colorado county cannot have its own rules about drilling. But the governor has not backed a piece of legislation to clarify whether local governments can set drilling rules that go farther than state regulation.

The drilling conflict is pressing because technological advances have drawn energy producers to more-populous areas.

Hickenlooper’s task force has an April 18 deadline.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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