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Senate Bill Introduced to Stop Fracking in New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM - February 26 - In the wake of a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report that identified ConocoPhillips’ San Juan Basin operations in Northwest New Mexico as the second-most prolific greenhouse-gas polluter in the nation among onshore oil and gas systems, Senator William Soules (D-37 Dona Ana) has introduced a bill to prohibit horizontal hydraulic fracturing in New Mexico. Senate Bill 547 would amend the Oil and Gas Act to prohibit the controversial practice best known as fracking.
“It is critical that this act take effect immediately to protect New Mexico’s natural heritage and the health of New Mexicans,” said Senator Soules. “We just don’t know enough about the impact fracking has on the long term health of our land. Once the health of our land and people is compromised, it is nearly impossible to restore. New Mexico deserves a healthy future, and fracking jeopardizes that future.”
Fracking, the horizontal drilling technique in which operators inject millions of gallons of chemically laced fluid at high pressure into rock formations to force the release of oil and gas, is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act. While the oil and gas industry has been fracking in New Mexico for decades, current techniques are more intensive and dangerous and have prompted a drilling frenzy facilitated by a lack of government oversight.
“Despite thousands of cases of water contamination near drilling sites across New Mexico, documented human health risks, and the litany of ‘fraccidents’ across the state and country growing every day, it’s hard to believe that federal and state regulators continue to turn a blind eye to the problems caused by fracking,” said Eleanor Bravo, New Mexico organizer for the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch. “New Mexico’s air, water, soil and public health are not commodities to be squandered for the sole purpose of bolstering oil and gas companies’ bottom lines. This is why several New Mexico municipalities are working to pass local ban ordinances and why we need SB 547 to pass.”
This week, Food & Water Watch is gathering petitions from New Mexicans across the state in support of SB 547. The bill has been referred to three committees: Senate Conservation, Senate Corporations & Transportation and Senate Finance, and is expected to be heard this week.