Top Colorado court rebuffs health groups on oil and gas

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DENVER (AP)-- The Latest on the Colorado Supreme Court ruling on oil and gas rules (all times local):

9:55 a.m.

The Colorado Supreme Court says state law doesn't allow regulators to make public health and the environment their top priority when setting rules for oil and gas drilling.

The ruling released Monday said state law requires regulators to "foster" oil and gas production while protecting public health and the environment. But the court says regulators must take into account whether those protections are cost-effective and technically feasible.

The ruling is a victory for the industry.

Community advocates and environmental groups wanted the court to rule that health and the environment should take precedence over oil and gas production. That could have brought tougher rules on where companies can drill.

The location of oil and gas wells is a contentious issue in Colorado, where oil fields and cities often overlap.

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1 a.m.

The Colorado Supreme Court is set to rule on a high-stakes lawsuit over how much weight regulators should give public health and the environment when setting rules for the oil and gas industry.

The court is expected to issue a decision Monday.

Regulators have long said that state law requires them to balance health and environmental concerns against the rights of energy companies to drill. But the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in 2017 that health and environment should have a higher priority.

That could significantly change Colorado's long-running battle over the proliferation of wells near fast-growing urban areas, giving opponents more power to argue for safety measures, including restrictions on where wells can be drilled.

The state attorney general asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Court of Appeals ruling.

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