Drilling a single well in New Mexico’s Permian Basin requires more than 11 million gallons of water per day in 2016, enough to fill 11 Olympic-size swimming pools, up from 1.3 million gallons in 2011.
January 27, 2021
SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico Senate has agreed to pass a bill that would increase penalties for spills of water produced by the oil and gas industry.
“Produced water” is the ebb of fracking, known to contain dangerous chemicals and heavy metals toxic to humans.
Camilla Feibelman, director of the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, said the produced water spills occurred as often as three times a week and subsequently poisoned the land, water and air of New Mexico.
“Right now, this waste is really out of control,” Feibelman argued. “We see thousands of ponds and corroded steel tanks that store this waste.”
If passed, the legislation would also prohibit oil and gas companies from using fresh water in most cases and would require them to disclose the chemical composition of water produced by spills and any proposed uses outside of the water. oil field.
Most of the state experiences severe drought conditions, and Feibelman stressed that groundwater and surface water from rivers, streams and reservoirs must be protected.
Introduced by State Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, Senate Bill 86 is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Conservation Committee tomorrow.
Feibelman said that currently oil and gas companies are not required to take enough preventative measures to protect New Mexicans.
“Right now, spills aren’t illegal, just report them and clean them up,” Feibelman said. “But we believe spill deterrence will help improve the care they give to equipment, training and potential human error.”
Oil and gas executives in New Mexico, where the industry accounts for nearly a third of state general fund revenue, previously raised concerns about President Joe Biden’s executive order last week, which has suspended for 60 days new oil and gas leases on federal lands.
The next lease sale in New Mexico is scheduled after the two-month moratorium.