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Colorado governor touts air pollution rules

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 25, 2014 at 4:32 pm •  Published: February 25, 2014

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is touting the state's new air pollution curbs on the oil and gas industry — but he insists that local efforts to curb drilling run afoul of constitutional property rights.

The governor gathered environmentalists, state health officials and representatives of the oil and gas industry Tuesday to tout new air-quality controls.

The rules, adopted over the weekend, include the nation's first statewide limits on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

The rules also call for infrared cameras to detect air pollution at oil and gas sites. State health officials say the changes will make a significant dent in the types of emissions that contribute to ozone pollution.

"Some people feel this still does not satisfy the issue of local control," said Hickenlooper, referring to groups pushing for longer setbacks and other drilling changes not addressed in the new rules.

But Hickenlooper insists that local governments can't ban oil and gas production without violating the property rights of those who own mineral rights.

A citizens group is currently gathering signatures for a possible ballot measure to amend the state constitution to give local governments more control over oil and gas activity. Meanwhile, the state is embroiled in litigation with one town that voted to curb hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

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