Long Debate Stalls NM Natural Resources Bill

New Mexico – A measure that would allow the state natural resources trustee to pursue damages from polluters who have compromised groundwater or other natural resources is running into opposition.

Critics say language of the legislation goes too far and would essentially transfer power from the Legislature to the trustee, an unelected position that has no public oversight.

Dozens of people gathered on the House floor Monday as a legislative committee considered the bill. The committee was forced to recess after more than two hours, promising to continue the debate Wednesday.

The bill's sponsor, Democratic Rep. Brian Egoff of Santa Fe, says the measure would ensure New Mexico taxpayers aren't left paying the bill for businesses that fail to take responsibility for damaging natural resources.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.