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Newly proposed bill may send New Mexico production to Texas

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A bill that would block the use of hydraulic fracturing on state land was introduced to the 2021 Legislative Session by New Mexico senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez of Bernalillo County.

It is intended to cease the practice while the state studies its impact on the environment. The process, along with horizontal or directional drilling, was credited with creating New Mexico’s recent boom in production that brought multi-billion-dollar budget surpluses to the state.

Sedillo Lopez introduced the bill first during the 2019 Legislative Session but it was defeated before being brought to the senate floor.

An analysis that year from New Mexico’s Legislative Finance Committee found the moratorium could lead to a $3.5 billion loss in revenue.

Sedillo Lopez said the bill would not impact any current or ongoing fracking operations, but was meant to give the state some breathing room in addressing the practice’s impact on water and air quality.

Opponents characterized the proposal as a “ban” that could devastate New Mexico’s bottom line as the oil and gas industry was already struggling to recover from an historic collapse of the fossil fuel market created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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