New Mexico County Weighs Rules for Oil and Gas Drilling

BERNALILLO, N.M. (AP) — Elected leaders in one New Mexico county are considering an ordinance that would guide energy development across a large swath of land that borders the state’s largest metropolitan area and numerous Native American communities.

Sandoval County’s proposed regulations have generated much debate, with activists raising concerns about the potential environmental effects of increased drilling.

Meanwhile, supporters are highlighting the industry’s multibillion-dollar role in the state’s economy and the current void of regulations in the sprawling county.

The County Commission is taking up the matter Thursday evening.

The ordinance would apply to the county’s unincorporated lands and would not affect state or federal regulations already in place.

While energy companies have operated for decades in areas along the edge of the San Juan Basin, there has been little interest in Sandoval County’s southern, more populated reaches.

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