Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pit Rule Changes Unlikely

Albuquerque Journal North
By Deborah Baker
Journal Staff Writer

"The oil and gas pit rule has been a punching bag for the industry, a rallying cry for gubernatorial candidates and a boogeyman for Oil Patch lawmakers.

But the only action at the Capitol specific to the issue as the 60-day session neared its midpoint was a lunchtime lemonade stand.

There, youngsters handed out free pink drinks Monday with labels warning that without "common-sense" safeguards such as the pit rule, water could contain dangerous contaminants.

No bill has been introduced to overturn the pit rule, which regulates the waste from drilling operations.

First of all, the pit rule issue is tied up in court.

Oil and gas producers sued after the rule was approved, and that challenge is pending in state District Court in Santa Fe.

Also pending — and also before state District Judge Barbara Vigil — is a lawsuit brought by pit rule proponents after state regulators made alterations to the rule that they say rolled back its protections.

Second, there appears to be widespread agreement that legislation is not a feasible way to undo the rules that were enacted administratively, by a state agency." More>>>>

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