Pollution control bill advances to New Mexico Senate Floor, oil and gas industry dissents

By Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus

March 5, 2021

Air pollution controls adopted by The State of New Mexico could be made tougher than federal law as a bill advanced in the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday and could next face a vote on the Senate Floor.

Sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth (D-25), Senate Bill 8 was intended to allow the State to adopt air pollution controls as stringent or tougher than federal restrictions through the New Mexico Environment Department and the Environmental Improvement Board.

Not a Drop of Water to Spare

By Gwynne Ann Unruh, The Paper.

March 4, 2021

The fast and furious pace of regulation hearings, combined with a slew of legislative bills and amendments, appears to have blindsided New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) members and left them trying to figure out a way forward. NMOGA stated in an email, “The legislature has been fast-tracking bills that put oil and gas jobs and billions of dollars in state revenues in jeopardy, severely limiting funding for our schools, roads, first responders and healthcare.” With leases stockpiled, pre-Biden administration NMOGA members won’t run out of land to drill or frack for many years—even with the federal leasing moratorium. However, they are running out of water for fracking and are facing massive regulations on the toxic produced water that their industry creates.

Earth Care Leads Community Resistance to Asphalt Plant Expansion in Santa Fe’s Southside Neighborhood

WHAT: Associated Asphalt and Materials LLC’s application to New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau for an Air Quality Permit

WHEN: Public Hearing on the Application is scheduled for March 22, 2021 at 4 p.m. 

WHERE: The Public Hearing will take place virtually and will be presided over by Hearing Officer Gregory Chakalian.

WRITTEN & ORAL COMMENTS: The public may submit written comments by email or post to Pamela Jones, Hearing Clerk, at: Pamela.Jones@state.nm.us or mail them to Pam Jones, Hearing Clerk, New Mexico Environment Department, 1190 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87505. 

New Mexico Environmental Oversight Increases, But Officials Say More Funding Needed

By Scott Wyland, Santa Fe New Mexican

February 28, 2021

A disastrous blowout at the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colo., released tons of toxic metals and acidic waste into the Animas and San Juan rivers in 2015, resulting in an $11 million settlement with the state of New Mexico.

An open-pit mining operation contaminated Questa’s surface and groundwater badly enough to put it on a federal Superfund list, leading to a recent $2.3 million payout to cover water improvements.

Advocates Decry Tabling of Protect Our Water Fracking Waste Bill

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. 

“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