New Mexico has long been an oil and gas hotspot—and, as a result, a host to methane, ozone, and volatile organic compound hotspots. The San Juan Basin in the northwest was one of the biggest natural gas producing areas on the planet and now the Permian Basin on the opposite side of the state is rapidly becoming the Saudi Arabia of the Southwest.
The industry makes a mess of things, to put it lightly. But it also pumps billions of dollars into state and local coffers each year, which funds schools and services and infrastructure and keeps the government running. It’s almost as if the State of New Mexico is, itself, in the oil and gas business, which would make the politicians that run the state kind of like executives in an oil and gas corporation. And that’s why even the most progressive leaders tend to shy away from environmental protections that might cut into revenues.
So, it’s refreshing to see the state enact some common-sense, relatively rigorous rules—and to actually enforce them and existing rules.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to The Land Desk to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.