Oil Drill Site colorado

An oil well is drilled on a property across from a subdivision near Frederick.

Colorado oil and gas regulators are taking the first steps to implement a new law that makes public health and the environment their top priority.

The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission released interim guidelines Friday for companies to comply with the law.

The commission also outlined proposed steps for handling drilling applications until all the new rules are in place.

That could take months or years. The commission's first hearing under the new law starts on May 20.

Under the old law, the primary job of regulators was to encourage production.

The new law also gives local governments new powers to regulate the location of wells and changes the makeup of the commission to add expertise on safety and the environment.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed the law Wednesday.

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