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Colorado passes ambitious, first-of-its-kind intensity verification rule for oil and gas production

July 26, 2023 Work Area: Methane

DENVER, Colo. – Last week, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) unanimously adopted a new rule to verify methane emissions from oil and gas production in the state as part of the implementation of the greenhouse gas intensity standards it adopted in 2021. The first-of-its-kind rule is an important step forward to limit methane pollution from the oil and gas sector, the state’s third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. 

“It’s encouraging that a high oil and gas producing state like Colorado is moving forward with a rule that will use measurements to ensure the industry’s actual emissions do not exceed legal standards,” said David McCabe, Senior Scientist at Clean Air Task Force, who testified as an expert witness on behalf of several environmental groups. “But this is only the first step, and there is more work to be done. The state must now provide detailed guidance to ensure that oil and gas producers use rigorous, accurate, and transparent methods to verify their emissions.  This will hold oil and gas facilities accountable for their emissions, as we so urgently need.”  

The new verification rule requires oil and gas operators to calculate the intensity of their emissions (tying the amount of emissions to the amount of oil and gas produced), directly measure emissions, and regularly report their findings to the state. The rule is a part of a larger effort to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry in Colorado as laid out in the state’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap.  

“This rulemaking continues Colorado’s national leadership in reducing methane from the oil and gas sector,” said Jeremy Tarr, U.S. State Policy Director at Clean Air Task Force. “Having established groundbreaking performance standards in 2021, this rulemaking requires operators to verify their emissions using direct measurement to ensure accuracy. We look forward to working with the state Air Pollution Control Division to develop clear implementation guidelines to ensure compliance.” 

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Samantha Sadowski, Communications Manager, U.S.,, +1 202-440-1717

About Clean Air Task Force 

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a global nonprofit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With 25 years of internationally recognized expertise on climate policy and a fierce commitment to exploring all potential solutions, CATF is a pragmatic, non-ideological advocacy group with the bold ideas needed to address climate change. CATF has offices in Boston, Washington D.C., and Brussels, with staff working virtually around the world. Visit and follow @cleanaircatf.

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