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Hickenlooper orders remediation of orphaned oil and gas wells



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."

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