In my 2+ years serving as your Executive Director, I’ve never seen a period of time that’s been so busy on the regulatory and rulemaking front. This newsletter alone is pretty overwhelming with updates on so many different issues. For that reason, I encourage you to take time carefully read through all of the updates so that you are up to speed on all of the necessary regulatory requirements and changes.
As we found out through recent meetings, the state’s regulators are not necessarily alerting operators to the changes. They feel the responsibility lies with the operators alone to proactively check their websites for updates. We have provided you lots of links in this newsletter to find the information necessary to have you prepared. As a warning, I get the impression the administration is gearing up to issue administrative penalties as soon as they get their new authority on January 1, 2020. Another good way to keep up to date is to continually check our Exclusive News webpage for operator updates.
On the federal front, I’d like to direct your ongoing attention to a series of important meetings IPANM has instigated regarding changes to BLM Rights-of-Way Bonding. We feel Washington D.C. is not aware of the dire implications of new implications of huge bonding levels being forced on operators, and we’re knee deep in a lobbying effort to get immediate changes. Our efforts have drawn the support of friends over at NMOGA, who are united with us in this effort.
The 2020 Session is a month away. You can keep up to date with daily updates to our Legislative Tracker on our website. The good news: It’s a 30-day session focused mostly on budget issues. The bad news: Expect bills attacking our industry. Our greatest threat continues to be an expected bill to ban fracking. It will not go anywhere, but will be damaging enough by the media and committee discussions. I recently presented on the dangers of a state or federal fracking ban at a national conference in Arizona. We need to continue to align with other industries to explain the dangers of fracking bans. A timely study just released highlights this threat in New Mexico.
But even these updates don’t include the extensive work done by our Methane Subcommittee and IPANM’s eight Methane Advisory Panel participants. My sincere thanks for their hours of work in Santa Fe these past few months. Let’s hope it yields fair Methane rules that take into special considerations the economics of marginal wells and independent producers.
I hope to see you all at our Christmas and New Year’s events. Blessings to you, your employees and families this Christmas season!