DENVER, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Colorado parties to a task force on energy issues are working to thread a needle on the interests of the environment and the energy sector, officials said.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper last week created a special task force that would outline ways to develop energy resources safely. The state has an obligation to develop natural resources like oil and gas in a way that is safe for residents, supports jobs and the economy, he said.
Oil from Colorado accounts for one out of every 50 barrels produced in the United States and output is on the rise because of operations in the state's Niobrara shale basin. The state is home to nine of the largest 100 natural gas fields in the country.
Todd Hartman, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, said the task force has its work cut out for it, but it's working in earnest to find the right solutions for the state.
"We certainly see the task force as a genuine effort on our part to get thoughtful people to the table who are willing to downplay personal preferences and think about the best approach for the state of Colorado," he said in Thursday interview with energy news website Rigzone.
The task force has the support of the energy industry, with Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, saying the policy framework could help protect the environment while promoting economic growth.
Rigzone reports the task force is working to make sure the state doesn't develop a myriad of niche regulations that would otherwise undermine state energy policies.