The state of Colorado will be the first to introduce regulation on methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations, after lawmakers approved proposals for strict control over smog, introduced by an unprecedented coalition of environmental groups and oil and gas companies.
The groundbreaking rules were drawn up with the active participation of some of the largest representatives of the state's oil and gas industry, such as EnCana, Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy, working together with the Environmental Defense Fund, and were approved by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission.
One of the key issues to be addressed through the regulation is control over the amount of methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations, as well as leaks from pipes and tanks, Bloomberg reported. Companies will also have to install technology that captures 95 percent of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
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Methane is one of the byproducts of fracking operations and is an extremely powerful greenhouse gas, which not only pollutes the environment and threatens the ozone layer but also affects the state's reputation as a tourist attraction.
Although energy companies acknowledge the fact that the rules are the strictest in the country, they also realize the responsibility they have to protect the environment and public health. Ted Brown, vice president of Noble Energy, told reporters that the rules were "smart" and "cost-effective."