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Plugging up the problem of Colorado's orphan wells

Oil well
Maarten Heerlien
CC BY 2.0

How much money should oil and gas producers be required to set aside for cleaning up retired well sites? That question will be front and center at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission this winter as the agency crafts rules governing financial assurances from the oil and gas industry.

If oil and gas producers haven’t put aside enough money to properly plug and abandon their operations, those wells could become orphaned. They often continue polluting the air and water, and Colorado taxpayers end up footing the bill to clean it all up.

To help us understand the consequences of orphan wells, Colorado Edition spoke to Andrew Forkes-Gudmunson, deputy director of the League of Oil and Gas Impacted Coloradans.

I am the Rural and Small Communities Reporter at KUNC. That means my focus is building relationships and telling stories from under-covered pockets of Colorado.
I host and produce KUNC’s in-depth, regional newsmagazine Colorado Edition, which has me searching across our state for peculiar and impactful stories to bring to listeners, always with a focus on empowering the people who hear our show and speaking through them to our guests. I am also a big nerd about field recording and audio editing, my dedication to which I hope serves our listeners who care about audio as much as I do.
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