Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC)

Matt Bloom/KUNC

As Colorado’s population has grown, so has the oil and gas industry. Its presence is an unavoidable part of the landscape. That’s why volunteer Patricia Nelson said she has spent part of her summer collecting signatures for Initiative 97.

Clinton Steeds / Flickr

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order this week requiring that abandoned oil and gas equipment be plugged up or removed. 

The move comes about a year after an old natural gas pipeline leaked methane into a home in Firestone, Colorado. The home exploded, killing two people and injuring another.

Photo by Kirk Siegler

An oil and gas advocacy group is warning Colorado taxpayers they could face billions of dollars in compensation claims if voters approve tough new restrictions on where wells can be drilled.

Leigh Paterson / KUNC

After a deadly home explosion in Firestone, Colo. last spring, the state is now updating its oil and gas regulations. At a public meeting on Jan. 8, several local officials and residents were focused on one item not on the table: mapping a type of small pipeline called a flowline.

Are There Oil And Gas Flowlines In Your Neighborhood?

Jul 18, 2017
KUNC file photo

A one-inch pipeline running just feet below a home in Firestone, Colorado, leaked odorless gas into the basement this spring, causing an explosion that leveled the house. Two people died and another was severely injured.

Jackie Fortier / KUNC

How safe are oil and gas wells? That question is being asked by residents up and down the Front Range after a couple of high-profile incidents in Weld County.

In May, an oil and gas worker was killed and two more were injured at an explosion in Mead, a town 10 miles west of Longmont. In April, two people died and another was severely wounded at a home explosion in Firestone. That blast was caused by an abandoned flow line that was still connected to a well. Gases seeped into the home because the line was severed.

Since 2014, Greg Becker has worked to prevent disasters like those from happening in the city of Greeley, which has long been in the heart of the oil and gas industry. City officials decided they didn’t want to rely solely on the state to inspect the hundreds of wells as the population grew to over 100,000 people and interests continued to overlap.

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When a home went up in flames on Twilight Avenue in April, in a subdivision north of Denver, two people died. Now, the investigation into what happened is underway, clean-up is ongoing, lawsuits are being filed and residents who live in that small community are worried — not only about their safety but about the value of their homes. 

YouTube channel Cataclysmic

On the afternoon of April 17th, 10-year-old Gillian Chapman and her little sister Kailey were on their front porch. Gillian had on her roller blades; Kailey had her scooter. They had just gotten permission to go visit their friend Jaelynn, across the street and two doors down.

Then, Jaelynn’s house exploded.

“The house just split open,” Gillian said. “You could see the upstairs.”

Jaelynn Martinez was not in her home at the time, but her father Mark and uncle Joey Irwin were in the basement and were killed in the blast. Her mother, Erin Martinez was injured.

How Is Colorado’s Oil And Gas Industry Regulated?

Apr 20, 2017
Jackie Fortier / KUNC

Looking out the windows of Matt Lepore’s eighth floor corner office in downtown Denver, you see high-rise office buildings and the Rocky Mountains. What you don’t see are any signs of the state’s multibillion-dollar oil and gas industry.

But Lepore said he’s reminded of how contentious oil and gas is to Coloradans every day.

“There are people who think that we are indifferent to them, their concerns, their health, and nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “And if they would spend a day with my field inspectors and with my environmental people, they would understand that we care.”

Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

A group of Greeley residents are suing state officials over drilling regulations known as “setbacks.” State regulations require oil and gas sites to be 1,000 feet away from structures like schools and 500 feet from residences.