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New Mexico amends rules to prohibit oil and gas spills

Jun 10, 2021

Credit Eunice, NM wastewater site serving oil/gas industry / New Mexico State Land Office

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico oil and gas regulators have revised state rules to make it unlawful for drillers to spill liquid waste.

The Oil Conservation Commission adopted the changes Thursday, a day after hearing testimony from environmentalists, industry representatives and residents. The changes stem from a joint proposal by the state's energy agency and the environmental group WildEarth Guardians.

Before now, New Mexico — one of the top producing states in the U.S. — did not have a rule barring operators from spilling oil and other byproducts from hydraulic fracturing. Instead, companies had to report the spill and then work with the state to clean it up.