The Conservation Beat
5:44 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Environmental Advocates Cry Foul Before Start of Pit Rule Hearings

Next week the state Oil Conservation Commission will take up consideration of New Mexico’s pit rule, a measure governing the disposal of waste from oil and gas drilling. 

When adopted in 2008, the pit rule was hailed by environmentalists as one of the strictest standards in the nation…and condemned by the oil and gas industry as unnecessarily burdensome. 

Starting Monday, the three-member OCC will begin a week-long set of hearings to consider the industry’s administrative appeals. 

Meanwhile, defenders of the rule have filed a Motion to Recuse, saying that one member of the commission has demonstrated bias in the case and should withdraw from the decision-making process.   The motion also calls on the commission chair to disclose her previous dealings with the oil and gas industry.

A spokesman for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department says the commissioners will take up the motion themselves on Monday.