Senate Bill 8 Local Government Air Quality Regulations

Here are some other reasons SB 8 should not be passed:

SB 8 removes language that says the Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) cannot adopt rules more stringent than federal rules for air and hazardous waste programs. It also removes the guidelines and “guardrails” the EIB is supposed to follow when it adopts rules related to ozone emission regulations. We view this as an alarming and sweeping new grant of authority to the EIB.

It is unclear as to why SB 8 is even necessary.  Industry has worked tirelessly with both the Oil Conservation Division (OCD) of the Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) and the Environment Department through the rulemaking process to implement the Governor’s Executive Order on Climate Change (Executive Order 2019-003) – particularly as it relates to developing a statewide, enforceable framework to secure reductions in oil and gas sector methane emissions and prevent waste from new and existing sources. Existing state law already gives the EIB authority to exceed federal standards in adopting these rules to reduce methane as a precursor to ozone.

Industry actively participated on the state’s Methane Advisory Panel – which brought together state agencies, environmental groups, indigenous community advocates and energy companies (large and small) – to move forward a rulemaking approach grounded in sound science, innovation, and collaboration to reduce methane emissions. Energy companies have been willing to work toward the nation’s most ambitious regulations on methane capture with EMNRD/Oil Conservation Division (hearings held in January 2021), and we plan to work in the same spirit with the Environment Department in advance of their proposed methane rulemaking hearing process this spring.

Unfortunately, SB 8 has the potential to completely upend and de-rail all of the positive collaboration that has occurred recently between the Governor’s Office, EMNRD/Oil Conservation Division, NMED, energy companies, environmental groups and other key stakeholders working in partnership on the state’s existing methane rulemaking process.