New Mexico amends rules to prohibit oil and gas spills

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico oil and gas regulators have revised state rules to make it unlawful for drillers to spill liquid waste.

The Oil Conservation Commission adopted the changes Thursday, a day after hearing testimony from environmentalists, industry representatives and residents.

The changes stem from a joint proposal by the state’s energy agency and the environmental group WildEarth Guardians.

Before now, New Mexico — one of the top producing states in the U.S. — did not have a rule barring operators from spilling oil and other byproducts from hydraulic fracturing.

Instead, companies had to report the spill and then work with the state to clean it up.