- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Latest on efforts to address spills at oil-industry wells in southeastern New Mexico (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn is asking lawmakers to create a new fund that would help remediate and restore state trust lands in response to recent spills of oil and polluted water by a Texas-based company.

Dunn presented the proposal to a committee of state lawmakers at a meeting in Artesia on Wednesday. He says there is a growing need for dedicated funding to restore state trust lands that are damaged not only by oil-industry spills but also illegal dumping, wildfires and invasive plant species.

The legislation would divert 1 percent of revenues from the state’s land maintenance fund that receives money from renewable resources overseen by the land office such as grazing fees, rights-of-way and business leases. Dunn says other alternatives such as raising bonding requirement for oil well operators would require complex revisions to state statutes.

The State Land Office oversees oil, natural gas, mining and other leases across 13 million acres of public land that provide funding to schools, universities, hospitals and other institutions.


4:00 a.m.

New Mexico oilfield regulators have reached a settlement agreement with a Texas well operator in response to spills of oily salt water at the company’s waste-water injection sites and oil wells.

The New Mexico Oil Conservation Division confirmed Tuesday the agreement with Siana Operating of Midland, Texas, that outlines a timeline for cleaning up the spills at two clusters of wells outside Eunice in the southeastern corner of New Mexico. Siana also would pay a penalty of $19,000 over the course of a year and could resume operations if all terms are met.

Separately, the State Land Office continues to pursue a lawsuit seeking compensation from Siana on accusations the company spilled waste at a well site on state trust lands where it had stopped making lease payments years ago.

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