Up to $30 million may be used to pay for the remediation of a brine well in Carlsbad.
That well was shut down almost 10 years ago, owing to fears that it might collapse, creating a massive sinkhole. In turn that sinkhole, according to experts, could cause untold injury and death, let along up to $1 billion in area infrastructure damage.
Members of the New Mexico State Legislature are reviewing Senate Bill 226 which would redirect around $10 million every year for the next three fiscal years from the New Mexico State Road Fund to the Carlsbad Brine Well Remediation Fund.
Located along U.S. Route 285, the brine well has been monitored by City of Carlsbad, Eddy County, and State of New Mexico officials, all of whom have said it could collapse as soon as 2020.
There are only a handful of operating brine wells in New Mexico. They are created by oil and gas companies when a salt cavern is filled with water. Once the water is salt-saturated, it’s pumped out and used in the drilling process.
Altogether, it is thought that it may cost as much as $43 million to remediate the Carlsbad brine well, with funding also coming from Carlsbad and Eddy Counties.
The remediation funding bill has passed the full New Mexico Senate and is now under review in the House Taxation and Revenue Committee.
By Garry Boulard
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