Colorado regulators adopt new pipeline mapping rules

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has approved a major set of regulations intended to better map thousands of miles of underground oil and gas lines.

The approval of the rules was due to the 2017 home explosion in the city of Firestone which killed two men according to the Denver Post.

The rules approved by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission include new requirements for testing and ensuring the integrity of flow lines and making sure out-of-use lines are shut down properly. The regulations will help implement a new law that prioritizes public health, safety and the environment when making decisions about oil and gas development.

The rules also are aimed at carrying out the goal of providing people more information about the location of the oil and gas lines they live, work and drive over. Former Gov. John Hickenlooper and other state officials made that pledge in 2017 after a deadly home explosion in Firestone tied to a cut but uncapped flow line.

However, as The Denver Post has reported, the comprehensive public maps haven’t been realized. There are an estimated 17,300 miles of flow lines in Colorado. Julie Murphy, the COGCC chief of staff, told oil and gas commissioners that the agency has processed registrations covering about 7,000 miles of those lines.

In her family’s case, Martinez said, correct procedures weren’t followed. A  National Transportation Safety Board report released in October said state records show the lines weren’t properly taken out of service.

“It’s important for you to understand what was taken from me, what the results of inadequate regulations can lead to,” Martinez said.

The COGCC staff strove to strike a balance between making sure the public knows as much as possible about the vast network of oil and gas lines with addressing some of the industry’s concerns. More of the lines are being installed in populated areas as drilling has expanded along Colorado’s Front Range. The lines carry oil and gas lines from wells and run on or near a well site.

There are thousands more miles of lines that carry oil and natural gas to a collection point or facility. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has been authorized by the federal government to  regulate those, which are called gathering lines. The PUC is preparing to update its regulations on the lines.

 

Source:  Denver Post

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