There are some 100 witnesses lined up to testify at the committee hearing for a bill that would require oil and gas drillers to site wells at least 1,000 feet from school property. Attendees are hoping the hearing finishes by midnight.
No one at the Capitol could be surprised by the turnout at the hearing.
The overwhelming majority of witnesses at the hearing are residents of northern Front Range Colorado counties that have been pocked over the last five years with thousands of wells. It’s an area where agricultural fields increasingly give way to commuter suburbs — a roughly 5,000 square-mile region that stretches from Denver International Airport north of the city to the Wyoming border. It is one of the hubs of the boom-time oil and gas fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, activity that has criss-crossed the state.