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Carlsbad Brine Well Bill Heads To Governor

Arianna Sena/KUNM

New Mexico lawmakers unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would help stop a sinkhole from forming in Carlsbad. The Motor Vehicle Tax to Road Fund measure would take a little over 4 percent of state vehicle tax money and put it toward filling Carlsbad’s brine well.

“Hope we get that accomplished before there’s a tragedy,” said State Representative Cathrynn Brown of Carlsbad. She’s hopeful they’ll get the funding, she said, but the city is getting ready in case that doesn’t happen and the sinkhole opens up.  

“The plan is to block off all of the highways and the roads in that area, to evacuate everybody," said Brown. “We’ll be left with pretty much an economic and very likely a personal and social disaster.”

The risk of a sinkhole was created by years of mining salt for oil drilling that damaged the structure of the ground. Studies show the brine well could collapse as soon as 2020.

The measure would generate about $30 million over of three years. Governor Susana Martinez has until noon Thursday, Feb. 15, to sign it.

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