By Sierra Club
February 15, 2021, Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to table SB 86 after Chairman Joseph Cervantes (D-31) unprecedentedly silenced proponents of the bill from giving public comment in committee.
Allowing bill sponsor Senator Sedillo Lopez (D-16) 10 minutes to introduce her legislation and expert witnesses, Senate Judiciary Chairman Cervantes allowed 10 minutes for oil and gas industry lobbyists to present an “expert witness” panel while failing to provide proponents of the bill the same courtesy.
Elected officials and representatives from diverse constituent groups including the New Mexico Acequia Association, Green Chamber of Commerce, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Youth United for Climate Crisis Action, as well as those already impacted directly from the mismanagement of “produced water” were among those who were silenced from providing public comment.
Instead, the Committee heard from the oil and gas panel who presented rebuttal testimony to the bill, fear mongering with claims that regulating oil and gas waste would be an effective ban on all oil and gas activities.
“It was unfortunate to see both the democrats and republicans on Senate Judiciary vote to table SB 86. What needs to be emphasized and understood is that we don’t have a law on the books regulating oil and gas industry waste in N.M. Our priority should be communities who are most impacted by this waste and not industry. Such a travesty.” – Gail Evans, NM Environmental Law Center