In response to deadly Firestone explosion, bill would require public map of oil and gas pipelines

The Denver Post: In response to a fatal explosion of a home in Firestone, Democratic legislators are pushing a bill that would require oil and gas companies to inform the state where their pipelines are located and for the state to create an online mapping database for the public.

The bill cleared the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee on Friday on a 6-3 vote, with dissents from Rep. Tim Leonard, R-Evergreen; Rep. Yuelin Willet, R-Grand Junction; and Cole Wist, R-Centennial. If it secures final approval from the full House, it could face opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Oil and gas industry groups had expressed opposition.

Gov. John Hickenlooper earlier this week backed the idea of mapping, saying it made sense for homeowners to know how close their homes are to pipelines. On Wednesday, Hickenlooper ordered inspections of all flow lines within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings. Lines not in use also must be properly marked and capped, according to the order, and any abandoned lines must be cut 3 feet below the surface and sealed.

House Bill 17-1372 is co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Foote, a Democrat from Lafayette, and Rep. Steve Lebsock, a Democrat from Thornton. They had asked Rep. Lori Saine, a Republican from Firestone, to become a sponsor and she declined to do so.

“Since Tuesday, we’ve certainly heard about a lack of knowledge about flow-line locations and most people are on board that the public should know about that,” Foote said in an interview. “The tragedy in Firestone did bring that to light, and we just want to make sure we get it right.”

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