Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 5, 20174min550

In the wake of a deadly explosion that killed two, injured a third and leveled their home in Firestone, legislation filed today at Colorado’s Capitol would require public notice by oil-and-gas drillers of underground pipelines tied to their operations.

House Bill 1372 would require oil and gas operators to “give electronic notice … of the location of each subsurface oil and gas facility associated with an oil and gas facility installed, owned, or operated by the operator” to the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission and each local government jurisdiction in which any oil and gas operation is located.

The bill also requires the state commission to post the information on its website for public access through a searchable database.

(ColoradoPolitics.com obtained a draft of the bill prior to its introduction in the House by Democratic state Reps. Mike Foote, of Lafayette, and Steve Lebsock, of Thornton.)

Investigators have pinned the April 17 blast, in a recently built Firestone housing tract, on odorless, unrefined natural gas that had been leaking from an old, severed underground pipeline. As reported by the Associated Press earlier this week:

The line was believed to be abandoned but was still connected to a gas well with a valve turned to the open position, investigators said.

The underground flow line was was 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter and had been severed within 10 feet (3 meters) of the home, officials said. Investigators said they do not know when or how the line was cut.

State regulations require abandoned lines to be disconnected and capped. Investigators have said they do not know why that was not done.

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday called for comprehensive mapping of such pipelines and said that might require legislation, but he expressed doubt it could happen before the conclusion next week of the current legislative session.

It now turns out it might happen after all. Lebsock, reached for comment, said, “We’re going to be responsive to the needs of local government” in identifying potentially hazardous pipelines.

He stressed he and his co-sponsor are “willing to work” with all stakeholders, including the industry, the state and local governments in getting the eventual wording of the bill right. Lebsock expressed concern about the draft language being circulated in advance of the bill’s formal introduction, suggesting the wording is not final and is open to wide-ranging input through amendments.

Lebsock declined further comment prior to a news conference on the bill at the Capitol.

It’s not clear how the oil and gas industry will respond to the proposal. Colorado Petroleum Association Executive Director Angie Binder deferred comment until she could confer with association members for their analysis of the bill’s potential impact.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirApril 26, 20172min38
Ever wonder if you could get away with counting your dog as another car passenger in an HOV lane? Or, maybe you’re hoping your tinted windows are dark enough to hide the fact you’re all alone? A couple of lawmakers feel your pain; they want Colorado to ease up on what one of them calls a “punitive” requirement […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJanuary 31, 20174min940

No sooner had we breathlessly blogged our discovery Monday that Democratic state Rep. Steve Lebsock of Thornton was in fact the “Steve” in the “Run Steve Run” mystery campaign — it urges him to launch a bid for governor — than Colorado Peak Politics chimed in to tell us what boobs we were for missing their post outing Lebsock weeks ago. Fine.

Well, no sooner had that happened than Lebsock himself told us Monday afternoon he actually is open to the idea. He assured us he had nothing to do with the briefly mysterious online ads, website and Twitter account — “I didn’t know they were doing it,” he maintained — but he wasn’t exactly shocked, either, mind you.

“I have been asked to run for governor since I was mayor pro tem of my city, Thornton,” he said. “So, it’s not a surprise.”

Then, he closed the deal: “I am considering it.”

Closed the deal, that is, only insofar as he confirmed he’s interested. Not declared, of course, and not even certain. He’s thinking about it over the coming year.

Which means he’s just like most of the undeclared, still-exploring-the-option gubernatorial prospects in his party as well as the GOP. All of whom, in turn, are unlike John Elway, who recently confirmed  he was NOT interested in running for governor despite perennial attempts to drag him into the fray. Ah, to be the one who could clear the field if he wanted to…

As for Lebsock, he also wanted to make clear just what kind of governor he would be if he were interested. For one thing: “I am not part of the establishment.” A prudent stance, no doubt, on the heels of an election year defined by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Lebsock had underscored the point a little earlier that afternoon in a tweet in response to our previous blog post:

And yes, we soon may be tempted to start a list of those who are not interested in serving as the state’s next chief exec. Besides Elway, of course.

Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJanuary 30, 20173min690

…to jump into the 2018 guv’s race. The third-term Democratic lawmaker from Thornton served in the Marines; is well-enough liked by the National Rifle Association despite the “D” after his name, and is generally regarded as one of the more moderate Democrats in the General Assembly.

Twitter gave it away, and we must say the way it went down was a bit anti-climactic.

It began as one of those online mystery ad campaigns intended to create buzz. There wasn’t much to it: A slogan, “Run Steve Run” (no comma after Steve) as well as references to, “Colorado governor 2018,” “veteran,” “Fourth Generation Coloradan” and “Served in the U.S. Marine Corps.” We first noticed the pitch in an ad via ColoradoStatesman.com. There’s also a website:


…and a Twitter account with just one follower:


It was a bit intriguing. You had to wonder whether it all would lead to some sort of grand unveiling.

It turned out to culminate in a whimper. After a handful of clues to Steve’s identity, this tweet appeared a few days ago:


Hey, we were ready for more! Mystery solved, but would it really have hurt to string us along a while longer? It was just starting to get fun.

We have a request in to Lebsock for a comment as to what he thought of the micro-campaign run on his behalf — and, presumably, run without his involvement. We’ll update you if / when he circles back with us.