House approves oil well regulatory rewrite

KRWG News – SANTA FE, N.M. (krwg) A state agency must rewrite regulations governing temporarily abandoned oil wells under a bill heading to the Senate.

Supporters say the regulatory overhaul is to give the oil industry more flexibility in decisions on whether to temporarily halt production of a well.

However, opponents warned that the proposal will get rid of current regulations protecting groundwater from leaking abandoned wells. The regulations govern the plugging of wells after production has stopped.

The legislation will require the Oil Conservation Division to adopt new regulations by the end of the year, taking several issues into consideration, including whether the rules allow for variations based on the size of the well operator.

The House approved the bill on a 48-20 vote on Monday and sent it to the Senate for consideration.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. krwg