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2nd Colorado agency re-asserts authority on oil, gas matters

DENVER — A second state agency is telling local governments it still wields considerable authority over the oil and gas industry despite a new law giving cities and counties new powers.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said Tuesday a law passed this year allows local governments to enact health and environmental rules stricter than the state’s but doesn’t weaken the agency’s authority.

Agency spokeswoman Jessica Bralish said the notice wasn’t aimed at any specific local government, although Weld County has established an oil and gas department to regulate the industry. Weld County is Colorado’s leading oil producer, and officials there have complained about state regulation.

Last month, the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission warned Weld County it still regulates the industry and that drillers must follow state rules.