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New Mexico releases oil and gas ozone rules. No wells will be exempt

New Mexico’s air will be cleaner and free of more ozone — equivalent to taking 8 million cars off the road, according to some estimates — if new requirements from the state’s Environment Department go into effect next year.

The NMED on Thursday announced it was removing exemptions from its proposed ozone rules for low-performing or stripper wells after calls from environmental groups that such “loopholes” would exempt most oil and gas wells in New Mexico.

The rules required operators conduct leak detection at least monthly and repair most leaks within 15 days while maintaining records of compliance. 

Emission reduction requirements would also be established for equipment like storage vessels, compressors, turbines. heaters, engines, pneumatic devices, produced water management facilities and others. 

It also adds similar requirements to processes like well work overs, liquid unloading and pig launching.