In response New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s release of her state budget recommendation Thursday, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter Chair David Coss issued the following statement:
“By increasing funding for the Environment Department and Oil Conservation Division and allocating funding to the Office of Outdoor Recreation, Gov. Lujan Grisham is sending a clear signal to the Legislature that her administration prioritizes our families’ drinking water, air quality and climate.”
“New Mexicans support clean air and water, and protecting the health of our citizens. These agencies have suffered devastating cuts under the previous governor, and their General Fund appropriations must be restored. These funds affect the ability to monitor air pollution, to review groundwater permits, and to see what is actually happening on the ground where oil and gas is developed.
“Funding OCD and its inspectors is critical to protecting New Mexico, given that the leading cause of spills over the last 20 years was equipment failure. Last year, the division had funding for only 14 inspectors tasked with monitoring more than 50,000 wells in New Mexico.”