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An announcement touting the rules last year said they’d be the equivalent of taking every car off the roads for a year.

The methane limits are being promoted as especially significant. Though drillers don’t emit as much methane as carbon, methane traps more heat.

Hickenlooper said last year that the air rules “represent a significant step forward in addressing a wider range of emissions that before now have not been directly regulated.”

WHAT’S NOT IN THE RULES

The proposal doesn’t address some of the biggest points of contention about Colorado’s oil and gas industry.

They don’t address how far oil and gas wells must be from homes, schools or businesses.

The rules also don’t increase in-person inspections of drilling sites, nor do they raise fines for operators that break regulations.

“The compromise certainly isn’t everything that all parties wanted,” said Dan Grossman of the Environmental Defense Fund’s Rocky Mountain Regional Office.

But Grossman and the large energy companies that agreed to the rules say they’re a good first step.

The Colorado Petroleum Association, which represents those companies but also smaller operators, is expected to oppose parts of the new regulations, which the CPA says could prove too burdensome for some.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW

The public hearings begin Wednesday, and the Air Quality Control Commission has rented space in Aurora because they say their regular hearing room isn’t big enough.

Interested parties who can’t drive to Aurora will be allowed to give telephone testimony, though they have to register by Monday.

The Commission could approve the rules soon after the public testimony ends, though they could also keep working in response to what they hear.