SANTA FE — Today, the Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) started a multi-day public hearing to consider the ozone precursor rule proposed by the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED). NMED anticipates the hearing could last approximately two weeks. The EIB will consider the proposed rule and decide whether to adopt it as proposed or with amendments.

NMED’s proposed rule would eliminate ozone precursor emissions by 220 million pounds, equivalent to taking eight million passenger vehicles off the road every year. The proposed rule will also reduce methane emissions by over 851 million pounds annually, equivalent to the energy needed to power 1.2 million homes for an entire year.

Ozone precursors refers to two pollutants – volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). When VOCs and NOx are emitted, they chemically combine to form ozone. Often referred to as smog and visible in the sky as a brown haze, some scientists have described breathing ozone as the equivalent of a sunburn in your lungs.

Ozone damages the cells that line the air spaces in the lung. Within a few days, the damaged cells are replaced, and the old cells are shed – much in the way skin peels after a sunburn. Lowering ozone levels will help protect against the breathing complications, asthma attacks and heart failure related to this type of pollution.

“My priority is the health and well-being of New Mexicans,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “Air pollution, particularly in the San Juan and Permian basins, requires our attention – and action. I am proud to lead an administration that is committed to promoting and protecting the long-term health and safety of our communities.”

The proposed rule, which has undergone changes and improvements in response to public comment and stakeholder engagement, is more protective of public health and the environment than the federal government currently requires and enables New Mexico to lead the nation as a model in smart regulation.

“We collaborated with thousands of New Mexicans over two years to develop a nationally-leading, draft ozone rule,” said NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “If adopted by the Board, our proposed rule will effectively, fairly and economically reduce emissions from the oil and gas industry.”

The New Mexico Air Quality Control Act (Act) requires the EIB to consider the plan to help ensure the state is in compliance with the health based National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). The Act requires intervention if ozone concentrations exceed 95 percent of the NAAQS. In New Mexico, this means the rule would apply to Chavez, Doña Ana, Eddy, Lea, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, San Juan and Valencia counties, which are experiencing the some of the highest concentrations of ozone in the state. The number of counties could grow if other regions experience air quality issues. 

The proposed rule allows industry to use and develop cutting-edge technology, including the use of fuel cells which convert air emissions to electricity as opposed to the wasteful practice of flaring. The proposed rule is technology agnostic to allow for innovation, like the use of satellites, air ships, drones, and fence-line monitoring to comply with leak detection provisions for process equipment. 

To see recent videos of emissions from oil and gas operations that our proposed rule would address in the San Juan Basin and Permian Basin, please visit our YouTube channel. Recorded this month, these videos document the ongoing emissions from oil and gas operations that contribute to the increase in ozone pollution in New Mexico.

Find information on how to participate in the public hearing here.

More information on the ozone rule is available here.

Click to search the Beat Click to search the Beat

Get Updates Three Times a Week

Welcome to the Update! You will receive emails 3 times a week with links to recently posted articles.


You can unsubscribe anytime. We never share or rent your email to anyone.

Submitting to the Beat

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as for the editor.

Advertising: Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ads on the Beat.

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds to a cheaper and shorter option. Check periodically to see if any new ones have popped up. The former software failed us, so it's just a category now, with prices posted. Send your information to and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Editor's Notes

Please Note in Classifieds a dog looking for a home. And now a well-loved cat is looking for a home.

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News. Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—

Feel free to notify if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.  The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised. 

Content on the Beat

WARNING: All articles and photos with a byline or photo credit are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member. We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change, except for legal notices, which incur a small charge.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was written by someone not affiliated with the Beat and then sent to the Beat for posting.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists. And check out the old faithfuls who continue to provide content.

  • The Beat has a column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues.

Newsletter: If you opt in to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option at the top of this page, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Go to Top