"SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico oilfield and air quality regulators on Thursday announced unprecedented state fines against a Texas-based oil and natural gas producer on accusations that the company flouted local pollution reporting and control requirements by burning off vast amounts of natural gas in a prolific energy-production zone in the southeast of the state.
The New Mexico Environment Department announced a $40.3 million penalty against Austin, Texas-based Ameredev, alleging the burning caused excessive emissions in 2019 and 2020 at five facilities in New Mexico’s Lea County near the town of Jal. Regulators raised concerns about the excess release of several pollutants linked to climate warming or known to cause serious health issues, including sulfur dioxide.
The agency alleged that Ameredev mined oil and natural gas without any means of transporting the gas away via pipeline, as required by state law. The company instead is accused of burning off the natural gas in excess of limits or without authorization in 2019 and 2020 — with excess emissions equivalent to pollution that would come from heating 16,640 homes for a year, the agency said in a statement."