NM Regulators Sign Off On New Pit Rule

Jun 7, 2013

New Mexico regulators have finally approved a revamped set of regulations aimed at managing certain wastes produced by oil and natural gas drilling.

The Oil Conservation Commission approved the so-called pit rule Thursday, following testimony and deliberations that spanned more than a year.

The regulations govern how producers handle drilling mud and other waste in pits, buried tanks, sumps and closed-loop systems.

The industry had argued that regulations adopted in 2008 and 2009 pushed producers from the state, costing New Mexico jobs and revenue. They petitioned in 2011 for the regulations to be amended.

Environmentalists had argued that relaxing the rules could lead to contamination.

In its order, the commission found that parts of the previous regulations were cumbersome. The commission says the new rule offers some flexibility but not at the expense of water quality or public safety.