The st ate Senate Conservation Committee is scheduled to hear a bill at 2 p.m. today that would ban horizontal hydraulic fracturing in New Mexico.
SB 547, sponsored by Sen. William Soules, D-Las Cruces, would amend the Oil and Gas Act to prohibit the practice better known as “fracking.”
Fracking injects fluid at a high pressure underground into rock formations to extract oil and gas. Soules said in a statement that the act needs to take effect immediately “to protect New Mexico’s natural heritage and the health of New Mexicans.”
“We just don’t know enough about the impact fracking has on the long term health of our land,” he said. “Once the health of our land and people is compromised, it is nearly impossible to restore.
“New Mexico deserves a healthy future, and fracking jeopardizes that future.”
Rep. Bill Gray, R-Artesia, said the bill would shut down the state’s oil and gas industry. Soules is also a teacher and Gray said “50 percent of his check probably comes from oil and gas.”
“It’s pure ignorance on his part,” Gray said. “It’s slapping the hand that feeds him.”
The bill also has been assigned to two other Senate committees, Corporations & Transportation and Finance. Gray said the bill probably wouldn’t get out of the Finance Committee, which “watches the money coming in and out of the state.”
“They would realize how critical this would be to the state,” he said. “Hopefully, it won’t get out of the Senate.”
The committee meeting will be available for online viewing live on the Legislature’s website, nmlegis. gov/lcs/.