House Republicans Kill Bill to Protect Public Health

House Republicans Kill Bill to Protect Public Health

HB 371 Would Have Imposed Criminal Penalties and Fines for Those Who Lie to Inspectors from the Environment Department

Santa Fe, NM – A bill to make it a crime to lie to inspectors from the Environment Department was killed by House Republicans today in the House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Committee. HB 371, sponsored by Rep. Kelly Fajarado (R-Valencia County), imposed criminal penalties for owners and operators of public water systems who lie to inspectors from the Department of the Environment. Currently, there are no penalties for lying to inspectors nor for tampering with devices or records.

“We’ve seen environmental crises in Flint, Michigan, but we’ve also seen it much closer to home in Carlsbad, Ruidoso, and other areas of New Mexico,” said Rep. Angelica Rubio (D-Las Cruces). “How far will the GOP go in denying the destruction of our land and water systems before they put their communities over their special interests?”

HB 371 had already been watered down so as not apply to the oil and gas industry and any possible contamination from fracking. All House Republicans on the committee opposed the bill moving on to the Judiciary Committee while all Democrats approved it. The vote was 5-5.