Colorado orders 87 oil and gas wells shut pending cleanup

State

FILE – In this Friday, May 27, 2016, photo, a pump jack works off state highway 119 near Firestone, Colo. A contentious proposal to tightly restrict the location of new oil and gas wells in Colorado attracted more than enough petition signatures to qualify for the November ballot, election officials said Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

DENVER (AP) — Colorado state authorities have ordered a Denver-based oil and gas firm to shut down 87 wells along the Front Range and clean up 29 of those locations after a series of spills and releases.

The Colorado Sun reports that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission order applies to KP Kauffman, an independent operator. The commission cited violations ranging from polluting farm fields to an oily waste spill covering a road in front of a high school. The wells are in Adams and Weld counties.

The commission says the company, also known as KPK, hasn’t acted to minimize or mitigate potential impacts of the spills and releases.

Ross Watzman, general counsel for KPK, told the Sun in an email that the company “has ensured that there are no active releases, and is working diligently to remedy” the commission’s concerns.

The order says KPK reported about 85 spills and releases and began about 73 remediation projects between Jan. 1, 2015, and March 30 of this year. It cited 10 cases where remediation took more than six months and four in which it took more than two years. Homes, schools and groundwater were placed at risk.

The commission says KPK has 1,031 producing wells in Colorado.

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