New Mexico legislature moves to rewrite oil and gas rules after nearly 90 years

New Mexico state Rep. Matthew McQueen, D-Galisteo, left, discusses proposed changes to state oil and natural gas regulations on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, in Santa Fe, N.M., under a bill he is co-sponsoring. An effort to modernize state oversight of a thriving petroleum industry in the nation's No. 2 state for oil production advanced past its first committee vetting at the New Mexico Legislature. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

(AP Photo/Morgan Lee)


Small and moderate sized oil producers fought it but a move to update New Mexico’s oversight of the oil and gas industry narrowly passed a legislative committee.

The bill would rewrite parts of the state’s Oil and Gas Act which was created in the 1930s, long before New Mexico became the nation’s No.2 state for oil production. Proponents say they want regulators to keep pace with the industry’s growth in recent years and at the same time hold it accountable for air pollution, according to the Associated Press.

The original rules were created long before New Mexico’s oil and gas industry turned its part of the Permian Basin into a large revenue producer for the state, and long before there was such a thing as fracking, which improved oil and gas production.

The rewrite effort was approved on a 6-5 vote in a House committee on natural resources and received support from major producers such as Occidental Petroleum and EOG Resources.

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