New Mexico increases enforcement of clean-up at oil sites

New Mexico News

FILE – In this April 24, 2015, file photo, pumpjacks work in a field near Lovington, N.M. As New Mexico’s oil and gas industry struggles with lower prices and slowing production brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, some members of Congress and state officials are urging the U.S. Interior Department to allow operators to temporarily plugs wells until prices stabilize. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) –The New Mexico State Land Office that oversees thousands of oil and natural gas development leases in a major U.S. petroleum-production basin is expanding environmental enforcement efforts to ensure that oilfield sites get cleaned up and restored as leases expire.

At an online news conference Thursday, the agency announced enhanced reviews at oil-lease sites that pose immediate environmental concerns. Officials say the initiative already has resulted in completed environmental reclamation efforts at sites spanning roughly 11 square miles (28 square kilometers), and the plugging of nine oil wells within the Permian Basin in southeastern New Mexico.

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