DENVER - Gov. Bill Ritter has signed a bill that extends the deadline for companies to get water permits for their
natural-gas and oil wells.
Senate Bill 165 gives the companies until Aug. 1, instead of the end of this month, to get their permits in order.
State Engineer Dick Wolfe has said he needs the bill to keep his office from being overwhelmed with paperwork.
Gas companies had to seek water permits after Southwest Colorado ranchers sued the state and won. As a result of the
case, natural-gas and oil wells have to be integrated into the state's water-rights system.
SB 165 also gives companies limited permission to use produced water from their gas wells. Lawyers for the Southwest
Colorado ranchers opposed that part of the bill, fearing that it could lead to gas companies gaining legal rights to