NMELC, Current Cases.

New Mexico Oil and Gas Pit Regulation Change

Location: Statewide

Opposing Parties:

Initiation Date: 2007

Status: COMPLETED - Stringent regulations adopted June 2008.

Clients/Partners: Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP)

Attorneys: Eric Jantz


Advocate for language that would allow for the improved regulation of discharges from oil and gas wells.

At Stake:

Surface water and groundwater quality protection; protection of livestock and wildlife.


This is the most environmentally-protective Oil Pit Rule in the country.

Latest News:

02/18/09 - Press Release: Governor Bill Richardson Proposes Modifications to New Mexico’s Oil Field Pit Rule

07/2008 - The New Mexico oil and gas industry is suing to overturn it NM District Court (See New Mexico Oil and Gas Pit Regulation appeal)

06/2008 - Some requirements of the Pit Rule:

  • All temporary disposal pits must be permitted by the State, and all pits must have heavy-duty liners.
  • Drillers must use “closed-loop” tanks near water resources, rather than storing wastes in open pits that can leak into nearby wells, rivers or groundwater.
  • A significant amount of contamination must be hauled to licensed disposal sites; waste disposed of on-site must meet groundwater quality standards before being buried.

Case Files:

05/09/08 - State of New Mexico’s Adopted Pit Rule