State health officials headed out to Rifle on Tuesday to meet with a room full of Western Slope residents, community activists and members of the oil and gas industry to discuss adopting stricter air quality standards across the state.

The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission is looking into whether the recently adopted Front Range requirements that have oil and gas companies test equipment and facilities more frequently for leaks should apply statewide.

“All residents should get the protections they deserve,” Battlement Mesa resident Betsy Leonard said during the comment portion, which other than the 10-minute introduction lasted the entire two-hour meeting.

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment Air Pollution Control Division Deputy Director Chris Colclasure said they are beginning a two-year process to gauge support for expanding the rules. One meeting has already taken place in Denver, and another will be in Fort Collins in May.

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