Colorado GOP bills would punish local governments that ban drilling

Photo: Fracking operation in Weld County (AP Photo)
In this March 25, 2014 photo, a worker adjusts hoses during a hydraulic fracturing operation at an Encana Corp. oil well in Weld County, near Boulder County.

Lawmakers are gearing up for a battle over hydraulic fracturing in Colorado, with Republicans seeking compensation for mineral owners if local governments ban drilling.

The Durango Herald reports that Senate Bill 93 would create a way for mineral-rights owners to be compensated by the local government if local laws reduce owner's royalties by at least 60 percent. House Bill 1119 intends to hold local governments liable for lost royalties if that government bans fracking.

Democratic House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst said Tuesday those proposals take a wrong approach. She wants to wait for legislative recommendations from a governor-assembled task force studying land-use disputes over fracking.

Drilling regulations are expected to be among the most divisive issues lawmakers will address this session.