New Colorado law sets stricter standards for reporting oil spills

Colorado State Capitol

Colorado State Capitol

By John Fryar Longmont Times-Call -May 12, 2013

Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed into law a bill that will require oil and gas companies to file reports within 24 hours whenever more than one 42-gallon barrel of oil is spilled outside of berms or secondary containment areas.

The new law, established in a bill sponsored by Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, and Sen. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, replaces a current Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rule that generally requires such reports for spills exceeding five barrels, or 210 or more gallons.

The state agency’s existing rule has, however, required well operators to report spills of any size as soon as possible — and no later than 24 hours after the spill is discovered — if those spills could impact or threaten any state waters, a residence or other occupied structure, livestock or a public byway.

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