Letter to Governor and legislators
Dear New Mexico Legislators and Governor Lujan Grisham,
We the undersigned organizations urge you to support the Fracking Pause Bill, Senate Bill 149, to protect public health, our environment, and help stop climate change. Hydraulic fracturing is a poorly-regulated and dangerous method of oil and gas extraction that has boomed in New Mexico for over the past decade. Fracking is poisoning our state’s drinking water and air, and exacerbating the climate crisis. Fracking and its infrastructure are plaguing frontline New Mexico communities and workers with well-documented, severe, public health and safety impacts. These include explosions and leaks that contaminate drinking water, and air pollution that increases infant mortality and causes asthma that exacerbates severe covid-19 symptoms. Produced water has been found to be radioactive and being carried off the oil fields into communities, homes, schools and businesses. We need the report and risk assessment to understand the long term health and fiscal impacts of this industry.
On January 27th, President Biden declared a pause on all new oil and gas leases on Federal lands, highlighting the climate crisis and the need for immediate government intervention. New Mexico must take this opportunity to reassess the impacts of fracking on our state's precious resources by similarly pausing all new fracking permits on state land. This bill calls for a four-year pause in the issuance of new fracking permits and requires reporting to the legislature on critical concerns that regulations have failed to address until now.
In the 2019 session, Senator Sedillo Lopez requested that the NM Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department give a presentation on fracking in our State to the Senate Conservation Committee. The presentation revealed just how broken our current regulatory system is and highlighted the serious side effects of fracking that are ignored at present. Permits to drill are currently approved with no consideration for the health impacts on our communities or the cumulative damage to our climate, aquifers, and cultural resources.
Research shows that those who live closest to oil and gas operations are at the highest risk for developing negative health outcomes. In New Mexico, indigenous communities, communities of color, and frontline regions are disproportionately situated by fracking facilities. Fracking is having a devastating impact on New Mexico. Our public health is suffering, environmental racism compounds and continues, our drinking water is contaminated, our environment desecrated, and sacred cultural heritage continually demolished. We cannot let New Mexico become a sacrifice zone for an unregulated oil and gas industry.
New Mexico can stop fracking new permits, protect our people and climate, and be a world leader in renewable energy development and economic reform by pausing all new fracking permits on state lands.