Groups praise Ritter’s work on conservation |

Groups praise Ritter’s work on conservation

DENVER (AP) – Supporters of Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter’s successful overhaul of the state’s oil and gas regulations hope his decision not to seek re-election won’t mean the rollback of the protections for wildlife and the environment.

The Democrat’s announcement Wednesday that he is dropping out of the race prompted several expressions of gratitude from conservation groups for his support of new oil and gas rules.

Republican gubernatorial candidates Scott McInnis and Dan Maes say the rules are punitive and have stifled energy development. But the rules’ supporters blame the economic slowdown and low natural gas prices for less drilling.

The regulations that took effect last April carried out laws giving more weight to the environment, wildlife and public health and safety when approving oil and gas drilling.