Contested oil wells in Colorado suburb clear major hurdle

March 12, 2019 - 7:08 pm

DENVER (AP) — A fiercely contested oil and gas project in a residential neighborhood outside Denver has cleared a major hurdle.

State regulators on Tuesday approved a request by Extraction Oil & Gas to drill for oil that belongs to dozens of owners in suburban Broomfield, including some who don't want to participate.

The process is called forced pooling. It was created decades ago to make drilling more efficient, but some Broomfield residents said they felt coerced and intimidated.

Regulators said forced pooling laws are outdated and aren't suited to a project in urban areas, such as Broomfield. But on a 5-1 vote, they said Extraction had met the requirements of the law as written.

The vote came as state lawmakers debated a bill Tuesday that would tighten the requirements for forced pooling.

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