Colorado is about to require its largest utility to cut emissions at some of its coal-fired power plants to help head off new federal emissions rules.

Gov. Bill Ritter plans to sign a bill Monday targeted at Xcel Energy’s power plants along the northern Front Range.

Xcel would have to come up with a plan by Aug. 15 and give primary consideration to using more cleaner-burning natural gas.

The plan would then have to be approved by the Public Utilities Commission, which would consider how much it would increase electric bills.

Xcel estimates the legislation could cause bills to rise by 4 to 6 percent.

Backers say it will boost gas drilling and jobs, but the coal industry claims that will be overshadowed by a loss of coal jobs.

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Associated Press