Colorado Continues Overhaul of Oil & Gas Rules

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DENVER (AP) _ State regulators are heading toward the final
stretch of work on new oil and gas rules as they prepare to grapple
with ways to protect the state's wildlife and manage drilling waste
pits amid Colorado's natural gas boom.

Those are among the issues on the agenda for the Colorado Oil
and Gas Conservation Commission's Monday and Tuesday. The panel
has given preliminary approval to dozens of new regulations since

Commissioners are expected to take final votes next month on the
state's most comprehensive rewrite of rules for the industry since
drilling rates started breaking records.

Small groups will report back after trying to unravel disagreements on a few topics, such as reclamation, overlap of local and state regulations and the size of buffers between houses and wells.

Also still hanging is the standoff between the state and Colorado Office of the Bureau of Land Management on whether the state rules would apply to federal land. the BLM says ``no.'' The commission says ``yes.'' both sides say they'll keep talking.

Two laws passed last year mandated that more consideration be
given to the environment, wildlife and public health and safety
when approving oil and gas development.