Inadequate enforcement guarantees irresponsible oil & gas development
The New Mexico Oil Conservation Division (OCD) is charged by the New Mexico Oil and Gas Act to
“enforce effectively the provisions of this act or any other law of this state relating to the conservation of oil or gas.”
By any reasonable measure, the OCD is failing to fulfill its duty to enforce New Mexico’s oil and gas rules. In particular:
- Inspection capacity is inadequate;
- Violations are arbitrarily assessed;
- Violations are inadequately reported and tracked, what information exists is opaque to the public;
- Civil fines cannot be assessed by the OCD, they must be adjudicated;
- Fines are rarely issued to violators;
- Fines are inadequate to punish or prevent irresponsible behavior by oil and gas operators – or even to cover the state’s costs of fining a violator;
- The environment is not protected.
Consequently, the public cannot and should not have confidence that oil and gas development is occurring or will occur responsibly in the state of New Mexico.