State Republicans cautiously optimistic about oil and gas recs

February 26, 2015
Photo: Oil and Gas Task Force meeting (AP Photo)
Jim Fitzgerald, center, a rancher from Bayfield, Colo., and member of the Oil and Gas Task Force, listens during the board's debate on a measure while putting the final touches on recommendations for Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to consider in the settlement of disputes over oil and gas drilling, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in Denver.

Nine recommendations got the two-thirds support needed to move forward. They include policies intended to give local governments more voice in planned drilling operations. But the measures stop short of allowing local authorities direct regulatory power.

Senate President Bill Cadman, a Republican, said he’s hopeful the policies could improve tensions between residents and oil and gas operators.

"The majority of them looked reasonable and thoughtful and operational transparency and better cooperation between producers and local communities, these are sensible goals," he said. 

But Democratic House Speaker Dickie Lee Hullinghorst said she is disappointed by the outcome, noting that some residences may still be close to oil and gas operations. 

She added that Democrats are considering running further legislation to give local governments more power.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, who was instrumental in the task force's creation, told CPR News this week that it took "several steps forward" to reduce conflict between oil and gas activities and local communities. 

Opponents of oil and gas development indicated they will lobby the governor to issue an order banning the drilling technique.