June 10, 2021

The Oil Conservation Commission approved a rule change Thursday that will forbid drillers from spilling oil and toxic liquids — an amendment that activists and affected residents said would help prevent the pollution from occurring.

The rule will be adopted July 8.

The state Oil Conservation Division, which regulates oil and gas activity, partnered with the environmental group WildEarth Guardians to propose the rule change. Conservationists, community activists, regulators and industry groups all backed it.

New Mexico had no rule barring operators from spilling oil or “produced water,” the toxic liquid byproduct from hydraulic fracturing.

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