New Mexico land official sued over water policy
Oct. 18, 2017
LOVINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Two southeastern New Mexico companies are suing Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn over a policy that governs how much water oil and gas producers can pump from a regional aquifer for their operations.
Loco Hills Water Solutions, LLC and Steve Carter, Inc. argue that Dunn has overstepped his authority and is compromising more than $15 million in recent investments in water wells and pipelines.
Dunn said earlier this year that parts of eastern New Mexico are facing a crisis as the Ogallala Aquifer is depleted and the policy was aimed at easing pressure on the underground water supply.
The policy limits the use of water from the aquifer for drilling operations and allows for a royalty fee. It also calls for a hydrological assessment before water easements are approved or renewed.