Hobbs News Sun – September 16th, 2012

THE ISSUE: A biofuels project in Jal has run into regulatory problems with the state.

WE SAY: State law needs to be updated to keep up with new technology and techniques.

At a recent N.M. Legislative Radioactive and Hazardous Material committee hear- ing in Hobbs, several local companies spoke to the committee about their projects in the southeastern New Mexico.

One company, Eldorado Biofuels, has built a small plant in Jal to test algae. The algae is used to digest byproducts found in produced water from the oilfield. The algae can then be converted into petroleum type products.

The biofuels project means potential jobs for Jal and diversifying the economy of the state. Eldorado’s leadership said they were pleased with their experiences so far.

But during that same hearing state Sen. Carroll Leavell, R-Jal, brought out the fact that projects like the biofuels in Jal are not necessarily receiving open arms when it comes to state law and regulations.

During the hearing, it was brought out that the biofuels project ran into roadblocks when applying for state licenses.

It seems state law does not perfectly recognize algae projects, so state regulations had it recognized as an oil well while other regulations said it was closer to a dairy.

Legislators acknowledged the problem, saying it appears state regulations have not kept up with modern technology and techniques.

We are pleased state Legislators took the time to listen and learn about what problems potential businesses may be having in locating in New Mexico. It is one thing to talk about diversifying the economy and being a business friendly state. It is another to actually do it.

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