After floods, Colorado proposes new oil and gas regulations

Posted March 17, 2014, at 8:20 p.m.

NEW YORK — Colorado regulators recommended new rules for oil and gas companies on Monday after floods last year that tore into energy infrastructure and triggered oil spills in the western state.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission issued a string of recommendations, including that drilling companies have the ability to shut wells remotely to stop oil or gas flows before floods or wildfires.

The commission also proposed that oil and gas storage tanks, many of which were swept away in floods that hit north-central Colorado last September, be anchored and lashed to the ground with cables.

More than 1,100 barrels of oil and 1,035 barrels of drilling water spilled during the September floods, the commission said in a report laying out its recommendations.

While the spills were mostly washed away, and no traces of oil or gas remain, the report recommended that drilling equipment and storage tanks be kept as far away from waterways as possible.

A commission spokesman said the recommended rules would be discussed this spring and enacted “as fast as they reasonably can” but that there was no formal timeline.

Tisha Schuller, president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, which represents energy firms in the state, pledged cooperation with regulators.

“We will continue to work with the commission to share lessons learned and continually improve best management practices,” Schuller said.

 

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