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Colorado Edition: A dry winter; new tech to convert oil wells; costs of closing abandoned wells

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Matt Bloom
/
KUNC News

The Front Range has been abnormally warm and dry this fall, as we head into winter. Although some snowfall is expected later this week, many Coloradans are wondering what the rest of winter is going to be like. For more on snow and how it’s impacting the environment, we spoke with Becky Bolinger, assistant state climatologist with the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is holding hearings this month to determine how much money oil and gas operators will be required to set aside to pay for plugging wells at the end of their useful lives. The rules are meant to prevent orphan wells, which happen when an operator abandons a well and leaves the state to clean it up. KUNC’s Rae Solomon brought us a story on emerging technology that could prevent some of this from happening.

The task of cleaning up wells that have reached the end of their lifespan is expensive. And even with financial bonding rules, the state can still be on the hook for billions of dollars in costs if companies are unable to do it themselves. We revisited a conversation with High Country News reporter Nick Bowlin about how much money is need to clean up abandoned wells, and how much the state has received in financial assurances from energy companies.

Colorado Edition is hosted by Erin O'Toole (@ErinOtoole1) and edited by Henry Zimmerman (@kombuchacowboy). Our production team includes Tess Novotny (@tess_novotny). KUNC news director Brian Larson is our executive producer. Web was edited by digital editor Jackie Hai.

The mission of Colorado Edition is to deepen understanding of life in Northern Colorado through authentic conversation and storytelling. It's available as a podcast on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can hear the show on KUNC, Monday through Friday at 2:30 and at 6:30 p.m.
 
Colorado Edition is made possible with support from our KUNC members. Thank you! Our theme music was composed by Colorado musicians Briana Harris and Johnny Burroughs. Other music in the show by Blue Dot Sessions.

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KUNC's Colorado Edition is a daily look at the stories, news, people and issues important to you. It's a window to the communities along the Colorado Rocky Mountains.