SANTA FE, N.M. — A bill outlining new rules dealing with violations by oil and gas operators and management of “produced,” or brackish, water is headed to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk.
A joint House and Senate conference committee voted 6-0 Friday morning to approve the legislation, and both chambers passed the bill in voice votes in the early afternoon.
Legislative approval follows weeks of negotiations among industry representatives, environmentalists and government officials on Senate Bill 186, sponsored by Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Española. That bill aimed to amend the state Oil and Gas Act to give the Oil Conservation Division authority to directly impose penalties on industry operators for violations rather than having to file suit in the courts. It also raised fines for violations for the first time since 1935.
Martinez, however, opted to add those measures as “friendly amendments” to House Bill 546 on wastewater management, allowing legislators to vote on a combined bill.