Colorado is asked to trust that the energy industry can find and fix its own problems

Environmental critics say the Governor, with his background in oil and gas, is not likely to do anything to prevent another incident like Firestone.

DENVER - Just trust the oil and gas industry.

Wednesday was not the first day Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has suggested that, but now there's a crater where a house stood in Firestone, and two men are dead, after a severed pipeline filled their house with explosive gas.

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Environmental critics say the governor, with his background in oil and gas, is drinking the industry's Kool-Aid; he did once famously drink fracking fluid to prove its safe.

This all may to be the governor's greatest challenge yet - convincing Coloradans that energy companies can be trusted to certify the safety of all their lines, like the one under the house in Firestone. In his press conference on Wednesday, Hickenlooper said. 

"We are confident, and certainly, you know-- I wouldn't say confident. We're not completely confident, but we are hopeful that this will be a unique situation."

If it's not, though, the Coloradans have to rely on the energy industry being the one to find the problem. Hickenlooper is imploring Coloradans to trust that people who work in oil and gas - as he once did - value the lives of their neighbors and aren't forced to skimp on safety to meet corporate bottom lines.

"I can't imagine the anguish of the guy who probably turned on that well ... People who work, whether you're in the public sector or the private sector, doesn't mean you're scatterbrained or careless, or you don't value people's lives. I don't think that the guy who turned on that well had any idea that something like this could ever happen."

The governor could bring state legislators back to the Capitol to discuss changing state law on oil and gas, but he hasn't indicated he'll do that. A Democratic House leader said they're considering whether the explosion should lead to a change in law, or regulations, or how they're enforced. The Republican Senate President suggested they not overreact until we know if the explosion was an isolated incident.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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