Efforts coalesce to avoid cavern collapse in New Mexico


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – A state official says New Mexico is only a few steps away from being able to backfill a giant underground cavern before it collapses underneath a community of mobile homes and critical transportation routes in southern New Mexico.

Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Secretary Ken McQueen said Monday that his agency will be prepared as soon as July to help commission engineering plans to shore up a cavity left by the extraction of a salt formation.

The formation has been washed away to use as brine by the oil and gas industry for drilling operations.

Funding for the remediation plans still requires the governor’s signature and local matching dollars.

Carlsbad City Councilor Richard Doss represents residents at the threatened crossroads and says tensions are high over a possible evacuation.