Lawmakers kill plan to up regulation of gas drilling
DENVER A bill that would have given landowners more control over oil and gas drilling on their property died today because opponents on both sides of the issue said it didnt strike the right balance.The oil and gas industry said the bill was unnecessary because the state already has laws that address disputes that arise when drilling rigs roll onto someone elses land. Environmentalists and property owners said the bill didnt go far enough.The sponsor, Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, said she will try drafting another measure before the session ends in May.The General Assembly has a job to do and were not doing it, she said.The measure was intended to give landowners more say when conflicts arise under the so-called split estate, when one person owns the land but someone else owns the minerals beneath it.Companies that own or lease the minerals have the legal right to reasonable use of the surface to extract oil, gas or coal, but property owners often complain that drillers and miners run roughshod on their land.Complaints have become more frequent since a drilling boom in Western Colorado and elsewhere across the West, fueled by soaring oil and gas prices.The House Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources Committee killed Currys bill on a 6-5 vote. Curry chairs the committee. Her district includes the entire Roaring Fork Valley and part of western Garfield County.
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