Welcome, participants and guests, to Farmington for the 2012 Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference.

There probably are few times when such a gathering for information-sharing, learning and especially confidence-building was ever more important.

The 10th biannual conference was scheduled to begin early this morning with New Mexico's Lt. Gov. John Sanchez delivering the keynote address.

We sure hope that address expresses a renewed commitment by the administration in Santa Fe these days to help deflect some of the overwhelming burden weighing down this important industry with costly regulations.

The regulations are meant to protect the environment, a noble cause and idea, but there is nothing noble about sending good jobs out of state when one-size-fits-all rules and restrictions that seem inappropriate in some regions are a negative component in an already-tough economy.

Don't be surprised to hear if a new or strengthened battle cry for relief comes this week from this gathering.

Sharing ideas, seeing equipment for sale, networking with one another and all the things energy related are good for the conference and its attendees, but likewise, the conference itself is good for Farmington and the local economy.

The event features 21 speakers, and more than 2,500 industry-related people are expected to attend.

The conference is one of the largest events regularly hosted in Farmington, and it boosts spending at local restaurants, motels and other businesses.

It continues until 2 p.m. Thursday, all out at McGee Park.

Welcome to all of those here for it, and we hope you conclude the conference with fresh optimism and an enjoyable time during your stay.