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New Mexico Passes Bill Designed To Boost Geothermal Energy

Commentary:  Senator Ron Grigg’s SB 223 passed both Senate and House is on its way to the Governor for action.  SB 223 is a  bill that reorganizes and cleans up the state’s current laws concerning geothermal. It creates the Geothermal Resources Development Act (Act) and repeals the Geothermal Resources Conservation Act.

“New Mexico is rich in geothermal resources, my bill will help to simplify the development of this “green” resource and encourage its use,” Senator Griggs said. “It is a good bill for New Mexico and opens the door for more economic development.”

If it becomes law, the new Act transfers duties to regulate geothermal resources from the Oil Conservation Division to the Energy Conservation Management Division of the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department.

The new Act provides a permit from the state engineer is not required for the use of hot ground water as incident to the development of geothermal resources when certain conditions are met when either such use must not divert any ground water or all diverted ground water must be re-injected as soon as practical.

Rules must include provisions to protect the environment and the public against damage from the production of geothermal resources; require financial assurance for such projects; and require abandoned projects to be reclaimed.