Rancher-oil water dispute prompts Colorado bill

DENVER — Colorado lawmakers are moving to strengthen the state’s hand in water disputes in a bill prompted by a dispute between southwest Colorado ranchers and gas and oil drillers.

A House committee voted 13-0 Monday in favor of a bill that raises the legal standard for the ranchers suing the state engineer over allowing certain oil wells to be drilled without water permits.

The ranchers have been joined by the Oil and Gas Accountability Project and the city of Sterling in the lawsuit. The House bill says that courts must presume that non-tributary determinations made by the state engineer are valid, subject to rebuttal.

The bill now heads to the full House.

House Bill 1286: http://goo.gl/jmPdA


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