Governor Polis Signs Oil & Gas Regulation Overhaul

Governor Jared Polis has signed a bill giving local governments more control over oil and gas drilling operations. 

Senate Bill 181 lets cities increase setbacks and fine oil and gas operators for spills and other violations. It also makes health and safety the top priority for the state board regulating the industry. 

The state has struggled for years to balance the interests of the industry against growing concerns about noise, pollution and safety, and supporters of the law say it brings much needed protection to people and the environment. Opponents say it will stifle the industry and kill jobs.

At a signing ceremony, Polis, a Democrat, struck a conciliatory tone.

“The conflict that has led to back and forward oil and gas initiatives, great uncertainty and political risk for the oil and gas industry, and for our communities and our families feeling unsafe in their own homes, should and will come to an end," he said.

Republican lawmakers opposed the measure throughout the legislative process, saying it would drive the energy industry away and hurt the economy. Efforts are already underway to overturn the measure and recall a lawmaker who voted for it.

Colorado ranks fifth nationally in crude oil production and sixth for natural gas.