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ALBUQUERQUE — A lawmaker from northwest New Mexico, home to one of the nation’s largest natural gas basins, is taking aim at state regulations for oil and natural gas producers.
Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Farmington, has drafted legislation seeking to rescind the so-called pit rule, which restricts the use of pits for onsite waste disposal at drilling sites. The rule also regulates below-grade tanks and the use of closed loop systems during oil and gas operations.
The industry blames the pit rule in part for a slowdown in drilling activity in New Mexico and the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in state revenues.
Taylor’s legislation says the rule has cost the state about $140 million in tax revenue since being enacted in 2008 and that rescinding the rule would help recharge the state’s coffers. Legislators are in the last stretch of a 30-day session that has focused on finding more revenue and raising taxes to plug a budget shortfall.
The legislation also says the pit rules have “no scientific basis, provide no environmental benefit and were adopted without legislative approval.”
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