FILE - New Mexico Oil

Oil pumpjack in New Mexico.

(The Center Square) – Proposed rules to regulate air pollution from the fossil fuel industry is creating controversy as two separate cost estimates show differing impacts.

The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) proposed the restrictions to reduce ground level ozone pollution from the production of oil and gas.

The proposed restrictions include requiring an end to the practice of venting and control technology to stop leaks in the equipment known as fugitive emissions, which produce VOCs (volatile organic compounds), according to John Rumpler, clean water program director for Environment America.

The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) released a report saying the proposed ozone rules would cost the state $780 million in lost revenues because there would be a 12.9% decline in oil production and 22.8% drop in natural gas production.

But NMED provided an estimate that put the cost of compliance with the new rules at up to $338 million in state and local government revenue.

A letter from 15 New Mexico Senate Republicans expressed concern that such rules would squash revenues the state depends on.

“Given our state’s reliance on oil and gas revenues to fund our public schools, vital infrastructure and public safety, these massive, declining production figures are of great concern to us,” the letter states. “As written, this rule may very well jeopardize the sustainability of New Mexico’s energy economy, as well as the stability of our state and local economies.”