GOP Filibuster Kills Oil & Gas Safety Bill

(Tuesday, May 9) – A House Republican filibuster ran out the clock on Monday on a bill 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.

HB17-1372, sponsored by Reps. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, and Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, was introduced last Friday, three days after investigators announced that an April 17 explosion in Firestone was caused by the 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 away. Two people were killed and a third was severely injured when the home exploded and burned.

The bill would make the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission the repository for the industry’s pipeline maps, and the COGCC would make those maps available to the public.

“This bill was intended to combine the resources of the oil and gas industry, the COGCC and local governments to inform and protect our families and neighborhoods,” Rep. Lebsock said. “Colorado families living near oil and gas development deserve to know whether their homes are safe.”

But with House Republicans, including Reps. Yeulin Willet, R-Grand Junction; Cole Wist, R-Centennial; Tim Leonard, R-Evergreen; Phil Covarrubias, R-Brighton, and Kimmi Lewis, R-Kim,  milking the clock in their arguments against the bill as midnight approached, HB17-1372 missed its deadline for action in the Senate.

“The oil and gas industry has opposed this bill from the start,” Rep. Foote said. “A good-faith effort to improve public safety has fallen victim to political gamesmanship.”

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