ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — This article has been corrected to reflect that New Mexico’s oil and gas industry generated a record $3.1 billion in state revenue in Fiscal Year ’19.
The state Oil Conservation Commission voted Thursday to adopt rules to enforce fines for oil and natural gas companies that pollute New Mexico’s air and water.
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.”