DENVER — Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced the state’s response following a three month review of oil and gas operations. He called for the review after the deadly home explosion in Firestone last April that killed two people and injured a third.
“At the time of the explosion, we committed to do all we could to ensure that what happened to the Martinez and Irwin families never happens again,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “The actions we announced today are a responsible and appropriate response that places public safety first.”
Immediately following the explosion, the Governor ordered the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to conduct a swift review of flowlines. Industry provided timely information and has shared in the development of these recommended next steps.
The Governor is directing work to now focus on policy initiatives. Change will come either through rulemaking or legislation and will fall into these areas:
Strengthening COGCC’s flowline regulations
Enhancing the 8-1-1 “one-call” program
Creating a nonprofit orphan well fund to plug and abandon orphan wells and provide refunds for in-home methane monitors
Prohibiting future domestic gas taps
Creating a technical workgroup to improve safety training
Requesting peer-review of some COGCC rules
Exploring an ambient methane leak detection pilot program
These initiatives should be completed within 12 months.
Also, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will be formally announcing that it is establishing an alliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. This alliance aims to collaboratively address safety within the Oil and Gas Industry by developing best practices to ensure the safety and health of its workforce.
”Our state is fortunate to receive a federal grant to evaluate and address worker safety specific to oil and gas operations” said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director of CDPHE. “Public health and safety protections need to extend to these workers and we are fortunate to have the collaborative support and leadership of the the Governor, industry and our federal agency partners.”
Launching in September, the partners will meet monthly to share information, determine status of activities and evaluate results.