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New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission adopts new fine enforcement rules.

January 27, 2020

The New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission voted January 16th to adopt rules to enforce fines for oil and natural gas companies that pollute New Mexico’s air and water according to a January 20, 2020 Albuquerque Journal report.

The Oil Conservation Division of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department had lost the bulk of that authority in a state Supreme Court case in 2009. The power to enforce most fines fell upon the state Attorney General. But last year’s House Bill 546 restored the division’s ability to issue fines to energy companies. The commission’s action Thursday echoes that legislation.

“Reinstating the Division’s authority to assess civil penalties gives us another tool in our toolbox to ensure that the oil and gas industry is acting responsibly in New Mexico,” Adrienne Sandoval, Oil Conservation Division director, said in a statement. “New Mexico is a great example of how industry can thrive while also being responsible, and this new rule is another step in the right direction to improving regulatory compliance and ensuring a level playing field for diligent operators.”

The vote comes the same day that the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) said the booming industry had generated a record $3.1 billion in state revenue in Fiscal Year 19. NMOGA had supported HB 546, saying that the law strikes a good balance of supporting industry while also protecting the state’s air and water.

Spills of oil or wastewater in the oil field are some of the energy industry violations that can now be penalized by OCD.

Other state agencies are enforcing fines for energy companies that violate state air and water quality standards. In November 2019, the state Environment Department issued notices of violation to Matador Production Co. and Mewbourne Oil Co. for air quality issues at their southeast New Mexico facilities. Earlier this week, NMED notified two more natural gas operators that their Permian Basin facilities may be in violation of state emissions standards.

What this means to you
The New Mexico Oil and Conservation Commission has voted January 16th to adopt rules to enforce fines for oil and natural gas companies that pollute New Mexico’s air and water.

MIRATECH can help
Contact MIRATECH for stationary engine emissions compliance in New Mexico.