Colorado Smog

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Facing worsening air pollution, the state has approved the first-ever statewide regulations on the booming oil and gas industry to reduce air pollution.

The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission, meeting in Denver Sunday, says the rules should reduce emissions by 68 percent. The proposals must be approved by the Legislature before taking effect in May 2008.

The commission has also strengthened pollution rules already in place in a nine-county area along the Front Range, stretching from the south Denver area to parts of Weld and Larimer counties. The state is trying to meet federal ozone levels and says increasing pollution from oil and gas wells is jeopardizing its ability to do that.

The tougher rules, which will take effect in May, will require companies to cut emissions by 75%. That's up from the current 47.5%.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)