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New Mexico lawmakers approve funding to prevent sinkhole

February 13, 2018

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2009, file photo, empty water tanks sit at the edge of a brine well operation, shown at right of tanks, as a major irrigation canal flows by in Carlsbad, N.M. Experts are painting a dire picture for lawmakers about the impending collapse of a giant cavern that has formed under a highway interchange that serves as a gateway to southern New Mexico's oilfields and two national parks.(AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Legislature has approved funding to help shore up a giant, man-made cavern in southern New Mexico that is on the verge of collapse.

The House of Representatives voted unanimously Monday to use a portion of excise taxes paid on vehicle sales to underwrite as much as $30 million in spending on the problem over the next three years. GOP Gov. Susana Martinez has until Thursday morning to veto or approve the measure.

Experts are painting a dire picture about the impending collapse of the giant cavern under a highway interchange that serves as a gateway to southern New Mexico’s oilfields and two national parks.

The cavity was left by the extraction of a salt formation underneath the edge of Carlsbad.

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