The New Mexico Court of Appeals has ruled against an appeal filed by Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. The two groups had appealed changes to 19.15.17 NMAC (commonly referred to as the “Pit Rule”) by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission. This rule governs certain aspects of drilling, operations and closure of oil and gas wells in New Mexico.
The groups appeal had requested that the changes to the rule be vacated (overturned) or that the Commission’s order making changes to the 2013 Rule be reversed and sent back to the Commission for further consideration.
There were three contentions on which the appeal was based:
1. The Commission had no jurisdiction to create the 2013 Rule because a previous version of the rule was the subject of a pending appeal.
2. The Commission’s decision to issue the 2013 Rule is arbitrary and capricious because it was contrary to the evidence received and because the Commission did not adequately set forth its reasons for changing the previous version of the Pit Rule.
3. The notice the Commission gave of its proposed rulemaking was inadequate.
All three assertion made in the appeal were rejected by the court.
Click here to download a PDF file containing the complete opinion document in the case (32 pages).