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May 3, 2017

County Commissioners call oil and gas operators in Boulder County to guarantee the safety of existing wells and pipelines

Statement from the Board of County Commissioners

The tragic home explosion in Firestone is a poignant example of how important it is that we continue to work to protect the health and safety of our residents on all fronts available to us.

We believe that this tragic accident only further demonstrates that this intensive and dangerous industrial activity is not compatible with neighborhoods and places where people live and recreate.

As a result of the Firestone investigation conclusions released yesterday, we have requested that all oil and gas operators in Boulder County not only identify the location of their active and inactive pipelines and provide this information to Boulder County, but that they also take steps to guarantee the safety of these pipelines to all county residents.

More broadly, we call on the oil and gas industry to inspect, repair, and assure the safety of all of its existing wells and pipelines.

We have further asked that they provide information on their emergency plans and to comply with the Governor's request to:

  • Inspect and pressure test existing oil and gas flowlines within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings to ensure integrity;
  • Ensure that any lines that are not in use are properly marked and capped;
  • Ensure all abandoned lines are cut below the surface and sealed.

We know there are inactive, plugged, and abandoned wells and flow lines in Boulder County, and presumably lines running through our open space properties along the eastern flank of Boulder County. We will be taking action to inspect those facilities as soon as possible since we have access to those properties. Testing could include both infrared camera as well as soils testing.

We pledge to continue our multi-pronged strategy to actively address the public health and safety impacts of oil and gas extraction on every level that we can.

Domenico. Deb Gardner, Elise Jones
Boulder County