New Mexico Adopts Critical Oil and Gas Enforcement Rules

Statement from Jon Goldstein, Director of Regulatory & Legislative Affairs, Energy

January 16, 2020
Matt McGee, (512) 691-3478,

(SANTA FE, N.M.) New Mexico’s Oil Conservation Commission (OCC) today adopted new enforcement rules that will improve oversight of the state’s booming oil and gas industry. These rules restore the power of the Oil Conservation Division (OCD) – the state’s primary oil and gas regulator – to assess administrative fines on oil and gas operators for violations.

This rulemaking was made possible by the passage of House Bill 546 last March, which marked the first major legislative reform of the state’s oil and gas industry in over a decade. The OCD lost administrative enforcement authority following a New Mexico Supreme Court ruling in 2009. A 2019 report found that oil- and gas- related spills and violations increased nearly 100% over the subsequent 10 years, while fines levied against operators dropped to zero in 2018.

“Restoring New Mexico’s ability to protect its air and water resources, while safeguarding the health of the state’s children and families is a crucial step forward. The Oil Conservation Commission’s action today will benefit communities across the state and is indicative of the Lujan Grisham administration’s efforts to turn policy priorities into meaningful action for the people of New Mexico.”  

  • Jon Goldstein, Director of Regulatory & Legislative Affairs, Energy

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