NMELCs Energy and Climate Change Cases.

CASES — ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE


Cases are arranged alphabetically, with the exception of affiliated case groupings. The simplest method to find a particular case is to use our search feature, at the top of the page.


Mora County Oil and Gas Fracking Ban [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Mora County

Issues:

Defend Mora County against legal challenges to the Mora County Community Water Rights and Local Self-Government Law, the first county level ordinance to ban all oil and gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing. The ban was adopted on April 29, 2013.



Latest News:

12/03/2013 - NMELC files Answer Brief for clients.

11/2013 - Suit filed against Mora County Commissioners’ adoption of fracking ban.

Case Initiation Date:
Nov. 2013

Clients/Partners:
Mora County Board of Commissioners

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz

Case Status:
On-going

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New Mexico Model Oil and Gas Ordinance [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Statewide

Issues:

Assist OGAP in drafting environmentally-protective oil and gas ordinance language that can be adopted by New Mexico counties.



Latest News:
Case Initiation Date:
April 2010

Clients/Partners:
Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP)

Attorneys:
Bruce Frederick

Case Status:
On-going

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New Mexico Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing (“Fracking”) Disclosure Regulation [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Statewide

Issues:

NMELC will advocate that environmental and landowner protections be included in oil and gas industry-sponsored regulations for disclosure of fracking fluids.  The proposed regulations require drilling companies to report some of their fracking fluids within 45 days after they inject the chemicals underground to facilitate natural gas extraction.



Latest News:

The Oil Conservation Commission, with a majority of commissioners appointed by Governor Susana Martinez, adopted the industry-sponsored regulations in December 2011.  After hearing testimony from OGAP, they made one change: in addition to posting their non-proprietary chemicals to fracfocus.com, drilling companies will have to file their disclosure reports with the Oil Conservation Division.  This will give residents who do not have internet access the ability to see reports at Division field offices.

These regulations are weaker than disclosure regulations recently adopted in Colorado, Texas and Wyoming.

Case Initiation Date:
November 2011

Clients/Partners:
Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP)

Attorneys:
Douglas Meiklejohn

Case Status:
CLOSED: The Oil Conservation Commission adopted industry proposed regulations with only minor changes.

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New Mexico Oil and Gas Pit Regulation appeal [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Statewide

Issues:

Representing client in litigation brought by oil and gas industry in State Appellate Court; we are working to uphold regulations. The new Rule, for which the Law Center ardently advocated in 2007, (NM Oil and Gas Pit Regulation Change case page) is the most stringent in the nation and governs the management and disposal of toxic drilling by-products at drilling sites.



Latest News:

03/27/2012 - District Judge Raymond Ortiz quashed his Writ of Prohibition issued in February. This allows industry groups to go before the Oil Conservation Commission, where they seek to re-write the oil and gas waste disposal regulation.

03/23/2012 - NMELC files OGAP’s Response to NMOGA’s Petition for Superintending Control in NM Supreme Court.

02/14/2012 - The Writ of Prohibition was issued.

01/25/2012 - Judge Ortiz ordered a Writ of Prohibition granting the NMELC’s request that the Oil Conservation Commission be prohibited from reconsidering the Pit Rule until all the court appeals of the rule have been resolved.

01/10/2012 - Judge Vigil postponed appeals so that the OCC can ‘revisit’ the Pit Rule and consider the changes proposed by industry.

05/02/2011 - The NMELC filed a Supplemental Brief for its client, the Oil and Gas Accountability Project, in compliance with the First Judicial Court’s February 23, 2011 order.

02/23/2011 - District Court Judge Barbara J. Vigil decided that because of the Pit Rule’s substantial public importance and statewide impact, she would certify industry’s appeal to the New Mexico Court of Appeals.  A decision on the Pit Rule will now be rendered by the Court of Appeals. 

12/10/2010 - Oral arguments were heard by District Court Judge Barbara J. Vigil who took all parties arguments regarding industry’s challenge under advisement and would issue her decision sometime in February. Judge Vigil decided to postpone hearing arguments on the rollback of the chloride standard until February.

02/18/2009 - Press Release: Governor Bill Richardson Proposes Modifications to New Mexico’s Oil Field Pit Rule

10/20/2008 - The Law Center submitted a brief, on behalf of our client, in the appeal in order to defend the Rule.  We anticipate that the NM District Court will issue a decision as early as this Spring.

Case Initiation Date:
July 2008

Clients/Partners:
Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP)

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz, Bruce Frederick

Case Status:
On-going

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New Mexico Oil and Gas Pit Regulation Change [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Statewide

Issues:

Advocate for language that would allow for the improved regulation of discharges from oil and gas wells.



Latest News:

02/18/09 - Press Release: Governor Bill Richardson Proposes Modifications to New Mexico’s Oil Field Pit Rule

07/2008 - The New Mexico oil and gas industry is suing to overturn it NM District Court (See New Mexico Oil and Gas Pit Regulation appeal)

06/2008 - Some requirements of the Pit Rule:

  • All temporary disposal pits must be permitted by the State, and all pits must have heavy-duty liners.
  • Drillers must use “closed-loop” tanks near water resources, rather than storing wastes in open pits that can leak into nearby wells, rivers or groundwater.
  • A significant amount of contamination must be hauled to licensed disposal sites; waste disposed of on-site must meet groundwater quality standards before being buried.
Case Initiation Date:
2007

Clients/Partners:
Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP)

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz

Case Status:
COMPLETED - Stringent regulations adopted June 2008.

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New Mexico Oil and Gas Pit Rule Re-Write [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Statewide

Issues:

Represent clients against industry groups’ petition before the NM Oil Conservation Commission seeking to weaken New Mexico’s “Pit Rule.”  The Pit Rule regulates the disposal and storage of oil and gas drilling wastes.



Latest News:

04/21/2014 - NMELC files Brief in Chief in Appeal of 2013 Pit Rule.

09/18/2013 - Filed Response to Motion to Dismiss and Response to Dismissal of Chlorides Standards.

08/02/2013 - NMELC files for appeal against the Oil Conservation Commission’s adoption of changes to the Pit Rule.

06/06/2013 - The New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission issued its final order adopting most of the oil and gas industry’s proposed changes to the Pit Rule. Read press release.

05/08/2012 - NMELC files Motion to Recuse members of the Oil Conservation Commission and requests full disclosure.

05/04/2012 - NMELC files Notice of Intent to present technical testimony at the Pit Rule amendment hearing.

03/27/2012 - The first Pit Rule was appealed to State District Court in 2008; a stay was granted in that case in February 2012 pending the outcome of this new rulemaking. Learn more about the case leading to this hearing.

Case Initiation Date:
March 2012

Clients/Partners:
Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP)

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz

Case Status:
On-going

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New Mexico Oil and Gas Pit Rule Roll Back [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Statewide

Issues:

In June 2008, the Law Center successfully advocated for New Mexico to adopt the most stringent Oil Pit Rule in the U.S. (the Rule governs the storage and disposal of toxic oil and gas drilling by-products. See case details: See case details: New Mexico Oil and Gas Pit Regulation Change)  On February 18, 2009, Governor Richardson announced he was directing the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department to work with industry to develop amendments that would allegedly save companies the cost of compliance to the recently adopted Pit Rule. These proposed changes, if adopted, would substantially increase the risk of groundwater pollution.

The Law Center represents its client, the Oil and Gas Accountability Project, in an effort to defend the current Pit Rule.  We are particularly concerned about the State’s proposed rollback of the chloride standard from 3,000 micrograms/liter (mg/l) to 250 mg/l.  This proposal, which was made with industry input without participation from other stakeholders, would endanger groundwater quality by encouraging disposal of toxic oil field wastes in numerous uncontrolled locations.



Latest News:

03/23/2012 - NMELC files OGAP’s Response to NMOGA’s Petition for Superintending Control in NM Supreme Court.

02/14/2012 - The Writ of Prohibition was issued.

01/25/2012 - Judge Ortiz ordered a Writ of Prohibition granting the NMELC’s request that the Oil Conservation Commission be prohibited from reconsidering the Pit Rule until all the court appeals of the rule have been resolved.

01/10/2012 - Judge Vigil postponed appeals so that the OCC can ‘revisit’ the Pit Rule and consider the changes proposed by industry.

02/23/2011 - Because she had questions on two specific legal issues in the chlorides standard rollback appeal,District Court Judge Barbara J. Vigil ordered additional briefings on these issues from the parties.  Briefs are due April 30th.

12/10/2010 - Oral arguments were to be heard by District Court Judge Barbara J. Vigil, but she decided to postpone hearing arguments on the rollback of the chloride standard until February after she decides on the pit rule appeal from industry.

11/16/2009 - Law Center files OGAP’s Reply to OCC Response

10/30/2009 - Law Center files OGAP’s Motion for Stay.

10/01/2009 - Law Center files OGAP’s Statement of Appellate Issues.

07/30/2009 - Law Center files OGAP’s Notice of Appeal to the First Judicial District Court.

06/19/2009 - State commission approves pit rule change, Drilling Santa Fe Blog.

04/28/2009 - Law Center files OGAP’s Proposed Conclusions of Law and Findings of Fact to the Oil Conservation Commission

03/31/2009 - Press Release: New Mexico’s Land and Water Face Challenge from the Oil and Gas Industry

02/18/2009 - Press Release: Governor Bill Richardson Proposes Modifications to New Mexico’s Oil Field Pit Rule

Case Initiation Date:
February 2009

Clients/Partners:
Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP)

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz, Bruce Frederick

Case Status:
On-going

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NM Construction Industries Commission Repeal of Energy Efficient Building Codes [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Statewide

Issues:

Appealing the repeal of three building codes and amendment of a fourth by the New Mexico Construction Industries Commission. The codes included the Energy Conservation Code adopted in 2010, would have required new construction to be 20% more energy efficient than was required previously. The codes were developed through a collaborative process that included the construction industry, public-interest groups, and regulators. In terms of conserving energy, these four codes were the best standards of their kind in the United States.



Latest News:

04/09/2014 - Reply Brief filed

12/27/2013 - NMELC files new appeal.

07/15/2013 - NMELC files Docketing Statement in appeal.

05/30/2013 - The NM Court of Appeals issues orders on Request for Rehearing and Clarification, and Contempt Motion.

05/21/2013 - NMELC files Response to Notice of Completion.

05/20/2013 - May 22nd Court of Appeals hearing canceled.

05/13/2013 - New Mexico Court of Appeals sets hearing for Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 at 2 pm in Albuquerque.

05/03/2013 - NMELC files response to the Appellees’ Motion for Rehearing and Clarification

04/11/2013 - NMELC files Motion in the Court of Appeals for an order holding the New Mexico Construction Industries Division in contempt for its failure to comply with the Court of Appeals’ April 4th order.

04/05/2013 - The NM Court of Appeals rules that the Construction Industries Commission’s June 10, 2011 adoption of the revisions to the building codes are to be rolled back to the codes that were in place previously. (Read press release)

05/09/2012 - NMELC files Appellant’s Final Reply Brief in building codes appeal.

01/19/2012 - NMELC files Appellant’s Brief in Chief.

07/11/2011 - NMELC files an appeal in the State Court of Appeals for its clients.

Case Initiation Date:
July 2011

Clients/Partners:
Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, Sundancer Creations Custom Builders, Environment New Mexico, e-Solved, Inc., and several individuals

Attorneys:
Douglas Meiklejohn

Case Status:
On-going

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) ISL GEIS [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Western US

Issues:

We represent our clients in an effort to prevent the NRC from issuing a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) for new in situ leach (ISL) uranium mining in Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota and Wyoming. If approved, the NRC would apply the document to every proposed ISL minesite in those four states, rather than conducting site-specific environmental impact statements.  A Generic EIS would limit public participation in licensing proceedings, and would reduce the type of studies required at each site.  The agency issued a 500-page Draft Generic EIS in July 2008. In August 2008, we successfully petitioned the agency to extend its public comment period by 60 days.  During that time, we conducted an in-depth legal and technical review of the document, and submitted comments in November 2008, with national groups and groups from California, New Mexico and South Dakota signing on.



Latest News:

06/04/2009 - NRC Issues Final Environmental Report on Uranium Recovery Operations, Announces Change in Review Approach Go to press release

11/07/2008 - Comments Submitted on Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement for In-Situ Leach Uranium Milling Facilities on behalf of SRIC, BVDA, ENDAUM and the Haaku Water Office of the Acoma Pueblo, and with the support of other organizations and individuals.

Case Initiation Date:
July 2007

Clients/Partners:
SRIC and ENDAUM

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz

Case Status:
On-going

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Rio Arriba County Oil and Gas Ordinance [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Rio Arriba County

Issues:

Review the proposed oil and gas ordinance for Rio Arriba County.



Latest News:
Case Initiation Date:
January 2009

Clients/Partners:
Rio Arriba County

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz, Bruce Frederick

Case Status:
On-going

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San Miguel County Oil and Gas Ordinance [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
San Miguel County

Issues:

Assist residents in San Miguel in drafting an oil and gas ordinance, and in advocating that ordinance to the County Commission.



Latest News:
Case Initiation Date:
January 2010

Clients/Partners:
ranchers

Attorneys:
Bruce Frederick

Case Status:
On-going

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