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Gov. Hickenlooper tours site of flood-caused oil spill

Governor John Hickenlooper said Sunday that while the oil spills during the recent floods were unfortunate, the situation could have been much, much worse.

“Given the power of this flood, the fact that there hasn’t been that much leakage, I think, is incredible,” Hickenlooper said. He made the remarks during the a tour of a damaged Anadarko Petroleum facility near Milliken. Five thousand gallons of oil spilled at that site, among the 26,000 gallons the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission estimates were dumped into fields and rivers along the Front Range.

“No spill is a good spill, any amount is too much,” said Matt Lepore, Commission Director. He’s cautiously optimistic the current spill estimate won’t climb much higher.

“If that’s where we are, I think that would be pretty good, pretty fortunate,” Lepore said. “It’s impressive to see the tanks clearly moved and askew and the metal berms undercut by the floodwaters but all the equipment is intact and in place. i think it’s somewhat impressive that it weathered the storm as well as it did.”

Cables kept Anadarko tanks from floating downstream. The berms contained some of the oil that came sloshing out. One-tenth of the company’s 2500 locations in this part of Colorado were taken off-line when the water came through. There were issues with seven of them.

“We’re still trying to make sure that we’re doing all the assessment and being able to get to some of the locations and waiting for the water to recede,” said John Christiansen, Andarko spokesman. “We want to make sure we’re checking every single well head, every single tank battery and every separator that we have throughout the field.”