Clarity on Underground Gas Lines

(May 5) –Reps. Mike Foote and Steve Lebsock are sponsoring legislation this session to give the public access to maps of oil and gas companies’ flowlines — the pipelines, usually underground, that carry natural gas from wellheads to collection points.

“There is a growing consensus that more information sharing between oil and gas operators and state and local governments is essential,” said Rep. Foote, D-Lafayette. “We will be working together with the industry, the governor, state agencies and local governments to make sure we can remove barriers to that information sharing. Our bill is one step in that process. Everyone’s goal is to make sure all Coloradans are safe.”

Investigators announced this week that an April 17 explosion in Firestone was caused by the uncontrolled flow of raw, odorless natural gas through an open wellhead valve into a flowline that was severed near the foundation of a home less than 200 feet from the wellhead. Two people died in the tragedy.

“It is incumbent on the legislature, the industry, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and local governments to protect our families and neighborhoods,” said Rep. Lebsock, D-Thornton. “We look forward to working as closely as possible with all the parties to promote transparency and reassure families living near oil and gas development.”

On Wednesday, Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered inspections of all flowlines within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings and said the location of flowlines should be made accessible to the public.

“This bill answers the governor’s call and makes sure we are doing everything we can to insure safety,” Rep. Foote said.

HB17-1372 was introduced this morning. Speaker Crisanta Duran assigned the bill to the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee, where it is being heard right now.

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