DENVER (AP) — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has signed legislation to give local governments more control over oil and gas drilling and change the mission of state regulators of the industry.
The bill, called Protect Public Welfare Oil And Gas Operations, allows local governments regulate the location of wells. It also mandates that state regulators emphasize public safety over promoting oil and gas production.
The industry says it contributes $32 billion annually to the state economy and supports 89,000 jobs.
But fast-growing Colorado communities are spilling into oil and gas areas, sparking complaints about noise, pollution and safety.
Supporters say it brings much-needed protection to Colorado’s booming population and the environment.
Opponents say the law will stifle a major industry and kill jobs. Efforts are already underway to overturn it and recall a lawmaker who voted for it.
In November, voters rejected a ballot measure that would have kept new wells 2,500 feet from homes and schools, up from the current 500 feet. But they also handed control of the Legislature and the governorship to Democrats.
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