Colo. proposes air-quality crackdown for oil, gas drilling

DENVER - Under pressure to tighten air quality standards for oil and gas drillers, Colorado officials have proposed the nation's first statewide standards for methane emissions and other heightened safeguards.

The rules proposed Monday don't require more state inspections of drilling sites. But they propose a system of infrared cameras to speed detection of leaks from tanks and pipelines. The monitoring has an estimated price tag to the industry of $30 million.

Colorado's Air Quality Control Commission could make the rules final by February.

Proposed rules: http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDPHE-AQCC/CBON/1251647985820

The new regulations "reflect a real desire and a push to see something a little stronger on the health side," said Dr. Larry Wolk, Colorado's chief medical officer.

Oil and gas emissions are the main source of volatile organic compounds in Colorado and the third-largest source of nitrogen oxides.

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