Ken Salazar

Ken Salazar of Colorado, a former U.S. senator and secretary of the Interior.

Ken Salazar, a former U.S. senator from Colorado and Interior secretary, says a proposed overhaul of the state's oil and gas regulations would give too much authority to local governments and could effectively ban drilling in some areas.

Salazar, a Democrat, said Wednesday he understands the need to reform the rules, especially on health and safety. But he says Senate Bill 181 currently before the legislature gives "unfettered" power to local government to limit the location of new wells.

In a written statement, Salazar said energy independence is important to U.S. national security, and Colorado's oil, gas and renewable energy contribute to that.

Salazar was a U.S. senator from 2005 to 2009 and interior secretary under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013.

He's now an attorney in private practice in Denver and works for oil, gas and renewable energy companies.

The Senate Transportation and Energy Committee approved the measure early Wednesday on a party-line 4-3 vote. The next stop is a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday.

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