Colorado’s air quality control commissioners voted 8-1 Sunday to impose tougher air pollution rules on the oil and gas industry, becoming the first state in the country to regulate emmissions of methane gas.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Association and the Colorado Petroleum Association opposed the measure, which is intended to cut greenhouse called associated with climate change.
Anadarko Petroleum, Noble Energy and Encana supported the new rules.
The rules “require companies to detect leaks and fix them. They require companies to install devices that capture 95 percent of emissions — both volatile organic compounds and methane,” according to a report by the Denver Post.
“Colorado is proving once again that collaboration and compromise help solve important issues facing our state,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement Sunday.
The new rules “will ensure Colorado has the cleanest and safest oil and gas industry in the country and help preserve jobs,” Hickenlooper said.
The Denver Post said air quality in the Front Range region of the Rock Mountains “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 the toughest regulatory landscape in the country, no doubt about that,” Noble vice president Ted Brown told the Denver Post. “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.”