Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order on July 18 intended to address safety issues at over 500 orphaned wells and fracking sites. The move follows a review Hickenlooper ordered after a house explosion caused by gas leaking from an orphaned fracking well killed Joey Irwin and Mark Martinez and severely injured Erin Martinez in Firestone in 2017.
"That tragedy was a catalyst that compels us to improve the safety of Colorado's oil and gas industry," Hickenlooper said in a press release announcing the order.
The executive order aims to reduce the number of "high- and medium-priority orphaned wells and orphaned sites to zero"; enlist the oil and gas industry in plugging, remediating and reclaiming the sites; and create "a system of financial assurance that prevents future orphaned wells and orphaned sites by providing sufficient funding for plugging, remediation and reclamation activities."