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Friday, January 28, 2011

Monday: NM House Energy Committee to Study Impact of Environmental Rules on Oil and Gas Industries

This should be very, very interesting. On Monday, January 31, the NM House Energy and Natural Resources Committee (HENRC) will hear about the impact of environmental rules on oil and gas production at 8:30 AM in State Capitol Room 307 in Santa Fe.

“We’ve heard a lot of talk about how common sense rules to protect air and ground water affect the oil and gas industry. I believe the people of New Mexico deserve to know the facts and to hear reality, not rhetoric, on this critical topic,” said Committee Chairman Rep. Brian Egolf. “Monday’s hearing will be the first chance for our committee to start learning the truth.”

Presenting at the hearing will be:

  • Kim Sovig, a Research Associate Professor at the UNM School of Architecture and Planning. He is widely published on sustainable development and construction techniques, focusing on clean energy and water resources as they relate to land use.
  • Betsy Siwula Brandt, who has a 20 year career in the oil & gas industry ranging from exploration geophysicist to exploration and production manager for Exxon, both domestically and internationally. Her primary emphasis is on how best management practices and technological advances drive industry.

Republican members of the committee have been offered equal time to include their own presenters at the hearing. We'll see who they'll turn to, and whether their arguments can stand up to scrutiny.

It's exciting to witness the new chair of the HENRC taking a pro-active stance on getting the facts out there about common-sense environmental rules. From some of the rhetoric coming out of Governor Susana Martinez's office, you'd think basic rules to protect New Mexico's air, land and water should be out of the question because they would supposedly destroy the industries they regulate. Not surprisingly, the facts that allegedly back up that claim have been conspicuously missing from the discussion. Now's the time to put up or shut up, Governor.

January 28, 2011 at 03:14 PM in Energy, Environment, NM Legislature 2011, Regulation, Susana Martinez | Permalink


NM Business Weekly had a very good article a few weeks ago explaining the actual reason for the drop in natural gas exploration activity in our state. Due to horizontal drilling and hydraulic "fracking" technology developments, costs for development of shale gas are now less than for the traditional and CBM gas reserves that predominate in New Mexico. In addition, as the Business Weekly article explains, the big shale gas plays were so attractive that there was a rush to development that lead to over-supply and further depressed prices. This is all good for consumers, not so good for our state's economy and our state budget, but in any event, it's unrelated to the pit rule.

On the other hand, even though oil drilling is also affected by the pit rule, oil development in New Mexico is healthy due to the fact that oil prices are strong.

Posted by: Jason Marks | Jan 28, 2011 6:45:16 PM

Jason Marks points out two excellent points. Don't believe the spin from the Martinez administration.

Posted by: Laurie | Jan 29, 2011 3:24:45 PM

How about the impact environmental rules are having on the environment? Are the rules doing enough to protect the water, land and air? Do the precautions go far enough? Are the rules working or do they need to be more stringent?
These are the questions.

Posted by: qofdisks | Jan 31, 2011 11:00:20 AM