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Colorado Becomes First State to Regulate Methane Emissions 

February 26, 2014 — By Heath Wickline

Great news for the environment this week, as Colorado became the first state to regulate emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from oil and gas production activities.

Bruce Finley, writing for the Denver Post:

State air quality control commissioners voted 8-1 on Sunday to pass the rules with the support of leading operators Anadarko Petroleum, Noble Energy and Encana.

But they did so over the protests of much of the oil and gas industry, including the powerful Colorado Oil and Gas Association and Colorado Petroleum Association trade groups.

By passing rules aimed at reducing toxic emissions from oil and gas facilities, Colorado officials are trying to allow an energy boom while also protecting health and the environment. They needed to act because Front Range air already fails to meet federal health standards. The oil and gas industry is a growing source of volatile organic compounds that lead to the formation of ozone.

"This is in the best interests of public health," state health Director Larry Wolk said. "Methane and hydrocarbons being significant contributors to ground ozone — and climate change — anything we can do to control that is going to improve the health of our citizens — adults and kids. We have to look to the future."

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"This is the toughest regulatory landscape in the country, no doubt about that," Noble vice president Ted Brown said. "But we really believe this rule is smart. It is cost-effective. It ensures that oil and gas is developed in the safest possible way for communities and the environment."

Several of our Environment Program grantees, including Conservation ColoradoEnvironmental Defense Fund (EDF), and Earthjustice, spearheaded the two-year camapign that led to the new rules.