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“Protect Our Water” fracking waste bill passes New Mexico Senate Conservation Committee

February 9, 2021
Rebecca Sobel, WildEarth Guardians, (267) 402-0724, rsobel@wildearthguardians.org
In This Release
Climate + Energy  
#JustTransition, #KeepItInTheGround
Santa Fe, NM  Today the Use of Water for Oil & Gas Operations, known as the “Protect Our Water” bill, SB 86, sponsored by Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (D-16) passed out of the Senate Conservation Committee (5-4), and will next be heard in Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Click here to view virtual press conference >>

Supporters of the bill including former director of the Interstate Stream Commission Norm Guam, former New Mexico Environment Department hydrogeologist Dale Doreumus, and impacted community members Penny Aucoin from Carlsbad and Joseph Hernandez from Navajo Nation shared statements of support for the bill at a virtual press conference following committee passage. 

In line with the recent State Land Office order, SB 86 would prohibit the use of freshwater for fracking where produced water can otherwise be used. Additionally, the bill would fulfill the legislature’s original intent of managing produced water in a manner that protects public health, the environment, and freshwater by: making produced water spills illegal with enforceable fines, requiring tracking and disclosure of produced water production and treatment, mandating related rulemaking, and setting minimum requirements based on current science and technology for rules governing reuse of treated produced water outside the oil gas industry.

Over 40 Indigenous, land, faith, youth,  public health, and environmental organizations representing tens of thousands of New Mexicans have registered support for SB 86. 

For every barrel of oil produced, industry produces 4-7 times as much toxic fracking waste euphemistically known as “produced water.”  Right now, produced water is leaking, spilling, and exploding daily across New Mexico contaminating land, air, and water. Corrosion, human error, overflow, and equipment failure are the most common reasons for spills. SB 86 offers necessary reforms to 2019’s HB 546 Produced Water Act in order to manage produced water in a manner that truly protects public health, the environment, and freshwater resources. 

New Mexico water protectors rally in 2015.