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Complaint alleging conflict of interest and Joint Motion to disqualify filed against Water Quality Control Commissioner Krista McWilliams





Last week New Energy Economy and 16 organizations with Defend NM Water filed an Ethics Complaint and a Motion to Disqualify to hold Krista McWilliams accountable to the law. McWilliams, appointed to the Water Quality Control Commission by Governor Lujan Grisham, seemingly tried to skirt the law by skipping financial disclosure requirements. She has also failed to acknowledge the conflicts of interest inherent in her dual roles, serving as both a Commissioner on the Water Quality Control Commission that is currently making rules about the reuse of liquid fracking waste, aka Produced Water, that directly effect the O & G industry's bottom line, and being VP of her own company that is directly engaged in the reuse of produced water. She is also married to someone who until recently sat on the board of NMOGA, a party to the case, and she sits on an industry board, the Independent Petroleum Association of NM, that lobbies to "ensure new rules will not impact the bottom line of our members".


In an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican, and another in the Source NM, Ms. McWilliams' states that her company "has not used produced water for any purpose other than recycled-reuse used in oil and gas application" therefore she has no conflict. This is obfuscation at best. Disposal of PW has become a bottle neck to further oil and gas production, a bottle neck that could affect the entire supply chain including her company. Laura Capper, an oil and gas consultant said, "If you can't find beneficial use you're going to have to cut back on water produced and that means cutting back on oil and gas revenue". Of course, cutting back on oil and gas revenue means reducing their bottom line.


Since Texas blocked injection well disposal from New Mexico in 2 counties and New Mexico has limited its permits for certain wells, one of O & G's top priorities is to find new ways to dispose of this dangerous toxic waste.


This reuse rule was co written by O & G insiders and purposely fails to define what produced water is in any meaningful way, it doesn't set scientific standards to treatment quality and it doesn't require state oversight, or even a permit to proceed with reuse projects.  In other words it gives the O & G industry cart blanche to reuse "appropriately treated" in industrial projects anywhere across the state.


This reuse rule has no regulations, no state oversight, no treatment quality standards, no scientific data, no accountability. There is currently no cost effective way to treat this waste. In the words of one of our water defenders, "If removing this salt were economically viable, every coastal community would be meeting their water needs by desalinating sea water. But they don’t. Because it isn’t." Reusing "treated" PW outside the oil field should be a non starter for all our WQCC commissioners, unless they have something to gain by allowing it to go forward. Commission McWilliams should be disqualified from making a decision on this rule.


What you can do to become a Water Defender

  • Call your local, state and federal representatives and senators. Tell them, "no reuse outside the oil field."

  • Tell your networks about the threat to our water supply propagated by MLG and the Oil and Gas industry for financial gain

  • Attend the next hearing with the WQCC on August 5th.

Com_plaint alleges con_flict of interest in case of frack_ing wastewa_ter
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