The Senate Conservation Committee’s swift 6-3 passage of SB 418, the much-needed New Mexico Oil and Gas Justice and Reform Act, shows promise for reform of the outdated 1935 law in the near future. We have received word, unfortunately, that the bill won’t proceed further in this session. Nonetheless, the bill’s strong first-year showing sparked an essential conversation about how to bring the Act into the 21st Century.
Unsurprisingly, the oil and gas industry opposed this sensible bill because it would have required state agencies to protect public health, frontline community, and environmental interests that are otherwise harmed by unbridled oil and gas development. When this bill is heard in future legislative sessions, we strongly encourage New Mexico’s political leadership to seize the opportunity this bill presents to uplift the public interest. We further encourage leadership to recognize industry’s opposition for what it is: profit-motivated deceit that comes at the expense of people, communities, and New Mexico’s inestimable natural and cultural heritage.
WELC and our partners will work relentlessly to secure these important, long-needed public interest protections. Together, we will fight to ensure these protections become law.