The Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico filed a lawsuit Friday challenging new state regulations aimed at reducing ozone pollution in the oil and gas industry.
The New Mexico Environmental Improvement Council adopted the new rules in April and they officially went into effect on Friday.
Oil and gas operators in countries with high ozone content must now have emissions data certified by an engineer.
IPANM executive director Jim Winchester said the rule contains provisions that will require companies to plug productive wells and “inflict economic hardship” on residents.
“At a time when the public supports responsible domestic production to reduce gasoline prices and a decrease in our dependence on foreign energy sources that are unquestionably worse for the environment, IPANM is convinced it’s the wrong rule at the wrong time,” he said. .
Under the new rule, companies must quickly find and repair leaks and upgrade control devices.
New NMED regulations apply to operations in Chaves, Doña Ana, Eddy, Lea, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, San Juan and Valencia counties, which have high ozone pollution.
When the EIB adopted the rules earlier this year, Environment Secretary James Kenney said the agency would begin “robust and innovative” oversight to ensure oil and gas companies are complying. the regulations.
“This rule is a huge win for communities impacted by poor air quality caused by oil and gas operations,” Kenney said.
The notice of appeal, filed Friday in the state appeals court, will likely be followed by technical arguments in court within the month.
IPANM, which represents about 350 members, does not cite specific objections to the rule at this stage.
But the organization and other oil and gas groups opposed several provisions during the Environmental Improvement Council’s deliberations.
NMED removed exemptions for low-production wells, or extraction wells, in its final rule.
The agency also required more leak inspections for wells within 1,000 feet of homes and schools.
The ozone rules were designed to work in tandem with the Division of Petroleum Conservation’s methane regulations, which treat greenhouse gases like industrial waste.
The state agency has banned routine natural gas venting and flaring and now requires operators to report emissions data.
Operators must also meet a gas capture rate of 98% by the end of 2026.