A bill enabling Coloradans to sue oil and gas drilling firms whose operations damage property or harm people has advanced in the Democrat-led state House.

Specifically, the bill would hold energy companies liable if their operations cause damaging earthquakes.

The bill says plaintiffs could sue without having to prove that a drilling operation directly caused an earthquake. It only requires that oil and gas operations occurred in an area where an earthquake struck.

Scientists have attributed some quakes in Oklahoma to groundwater injection of fracking waste fluids.

Republicans opposed the bill, arguing it would shift the burden of proof from plaintiffs to energy companies that would have to demonstrate that fracking didn't cause damage.

Thornton Democrat Joseph Salazar's bill advanced by voice vote Wednesday. It goes to the Republican-led Senate after a final House vote.