Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper to sign executive order on 'orphan' wells

DENVER — Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper will sign an executive order dealing with the state’s so-called orphan wells. These are wells that were abandoned by companies when they went out of business.

The executive order is just the latest move the state has taken to deal increase safety around oil and gas wells in the aftermath of an explosion in Firestone in April 2017. The explosion killed two people and injured one other. The well in that case was not an orphan well but it was uncapped at the time.

In the year since, Gov. Hickenlooper first ordered a review to figure out how many orphan wells exist. Then last August he released a seven-pronged plan for how to deal with them.

Meanwhile this past legislative session, state lawmakers signed a bill into law that allows unspent money from the budget account for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to mitigate the environmental impacts of orphan wells.

In the past, that leftover money was transferred into another budget account for the state. Now, the money can roll over to be used for these abandoned wells. The bill was co-sponsored by Lori Saine, who represents Firestone.

Now, the governor will take the latest step to increase safety measures in the state for these wells. 

Gov. Hickenlooper will sign the executive order at the state capitol at 11 a.m. and Denver7 will bring you updates throughout the day.

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