Denver (AP) - The state approved 2,885 oil and gas drilling permits through July 9, putting Colorado on pace to issue an estimated 5,000 permits by year's end.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission says that would be a 38 percent decrease from last year's record total of 8,027.
The state approved 6,368 permits in 2007.
Colorado's natural gas production has dropped as prices have fallen, credit has tightened and the recession has worn on.
Weld County leads the state with 891 permits approved there so far this year. Garfield County is slightly behind with 883.
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