SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A panel of New Mexico regulators is considering a request by the oil and natural gas industry to revamp regulations that govern how energy developers handle drilling waste.
A weeklong hearing on the so-called pit rule started Monday in Santa Fe before the Oil Conservation Commission.
The rule was first approved by the commission in 2008 to prevent ground and surface water contamination. It governs how oil and gas producers handle wastes from drilling operations in buried tanks, sumps, pits and closed-loop systems.
Environmentalists argue the rule is needed to protect water supplies. However, oil and gas producers say it needs to be amended to ensure New Mexico producers remain competitive with developers in neighboring states.
Legal appeals filed by environmentalists and industry groups have been put on hold pending the outcome of the commission's hearing.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.