Published: 1:35 pm, Mon. Feb. 20th, 2017Updated: 1:35 pm
The Latest on increasing New Mexico’s regulatory powers over oil and gas drillers (all times local):
A New Mexico Senate panel is delaying its first deliberations about increasing the state’s authority to impose administrative penalties against oil and natural gas companies for violations of operating and environmental regulations.
The Senate Conservation Committee on Tuesday postponed discussion of the bill from Democratic Sen. Richard Martinez of Espanola that would allow the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division to impose administrative penalties of up to $10,000 a day for violations of the Oil and Gas Act.
A 2009 state Supreme Court decision held that the division was not authorized to assess civil penalties and had to file a lawsuit in court to enforce a variety of regulations for oil, natural gas and waste-water injection wells.
The New Mexico Legislature may restore the state’s authority to impose administrative penalties of up to $10,000 per day against oil and natural gas companies for violations of operating and environmental rules.
A Senate panel is scheduled Tuesday to consider a bill that broadens civil enforcement of the state Oil and Gas Act and increases the current $1,000 maximum penalty for administrative violations.
Texas allows daily penalties of $10,000, and Colorado can charge $15,000.