Case Update: Pit Rule Appeals

New Mexico’s Pit Rule got a reprieve yesterday as State District Court Judge Barbara Vigil is considering sending industry’s appeal up to the State Court of Appeals. Due to substantial public interest in the Pit Rule (the importance of oil and gas to New Mexico’s economy, the Oil Conservation Commission considering extensive technical evidence and hundreds of hours of conservation, legal and industry time committed and expended in the process of developing the Pit Rule) sending the case to the higher court may be a logical next step because of the statewide importance of oil and gas.

Judge Vigil will make a final ruling in mid-May after ruling on OGAP’s appeal of Governor Richardson’s rollbacks of the Pit Rule’s chloride standards. Richardson’s decision, made behind closed doors with industry nine months after the Pit Rule was adopted, allows wastes 13 times more toxic to be buried on well sites. Gwen Lachelt, Earthworks’ OGAP

02/24/2011 • Back to top

Oral Arguments to be Heard Tomorrow on Pit Rule Chloride Standard Rollback

New Mexico’s landmark Pit Rule - the nation’s most protective measure to safeguard residents, water and land from hazardous oil and gas drilling wastes - will be challenged in court tomorrow.

The NMELC will argue against the State’s proposed rollback of the chloride standard from 3,000 micrograms/liter (mg/l) to 250 mg/l. This change, which was made with industry input and without participation from other stakeholders, would endanger groundwater quality by encouraging disposal of toxic oil field wastes in numerous uncontrolled locations. Learn more about the case.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 1:30 p.m.

First Judicial District Court
Catron Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501

02/22/2011 • Back to top

New Mexico Governor Takes New Approach to Environment, Energy Industry

“If Martinez is successful in reversing or repealing rules that are designed to protect the environment, it may impact residents’ health and ultimately encourage businesses to look elsewhere because of a lowered quality of life in the state, said Douglas Meiklejohn, executive director of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, which sued the state to have the greenhouse gas emissions rule published in the state register.” New West

Read full story.

02/17/2011 • Back to top

Learn EXACTLY What the Pit Rule is and How it Protects New Mexico’s Groundwater

Our friends at Earthworks and the Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) have come up with some great information and fact sheets on how the Pit Rule has protected New Mexico’s groundwater and it’s true impact on the oil and gas industry.

New Mexico’s Common Sense Drilling Rules
- The Pit Rule - What it is and why we need it
- Good questions and honest answers
- The Pit Rule - True Economics

02/15/2011 • Back to top

NMELC Files Motion to Stop San Augustin Plains Water Grab

SANTA FE, N.M.— The New Mexico Environmental Law Center filed a motion today to dismiss an application by a corporation to appropriate 54,000 acre feet of groundwater per year – enough water to support a new city of hundreds of thousands of people.  In its application, Augustin Plains Ranch, Inc., seeks permission from the New Mexico State Engineer to drill 37 wells, 3000 feet deep, on its corporate ranch located near Datil, NM, for the purpose of selling or using the water anywhere within several counties.

Get PDF of Filed Motion.

Read entire article >

02/11/2011 • Back to top

Senate Judiciary Committee Tables Bill Targeting New Emissions Rules

“The 7-4 vote, which fell along party lines, followed a more than hour-long debate that featured discussion about big-picture issues: the constitutional limits of legislative power, and whether, and how fast, the state was transitioning from the “old economy” of coal-fired plants to a “new economy” of solar arrays and wind-powered turbines.” The Santa Fe New Mexican

Read full story.

02/07/2011 • Back to top

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