NM OCD enforcement is sparse, arbitrary, toothless and opaque
Santa Fe, NM, May 17th – Today Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project released a new report, NM OCD: Inadequate enforcement guarantees irresponsible oil and gas development. Part of a national assessment of state oil and gas regulatory enforcement, highlights of the New Mexico-specific findings include:
- More than 60% of active oil & gas wells go uninspected each year.
- Where violations are found, individual inspectors have complete discretion as to whether and how violations are recorded -- in essence, each inspector is their own lawmaker.
- Few violators are penalized, and when they are, penalites are too low to deter future violations
- Public is prohibited access to data that would reveal how responsibly industry is operated, and how well OCD is enforcing the law.
“The OCD has failed in its mission is to effectively enforce New mexico oil and gas laws and regulations, “said Gwen Lachelt, Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Director. She continued "With their failure, they, guarantee irresponsible oil and gas development, and put landowners, their water and the environment at risk.”
Oversight failure demonstrates local jurisdictions shouldn't be stripped of oil & gas regulatory authority
Durango, CO, Mar 20th – Today Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project released a new report, COGCC: Inadequate enforcement means current Colorado oil and gas development is irresponsible. Part of a national assessment of state oil and gas regulatory enforcement, highlights of the Colorado-specific findings include:
- As the number of wells drilled increases in Colorado, the number of inspections is decreasing.
- It is physically impossible for existing COGCC inspection staff to inspect every well once per year.
- Many rule violations are not recorded, and very few violators are penalized.
- For those who are penalized, $1000/day maximum fines are inadequate to deter irresponsible operations.