As WQCC Member McWilliams Claims No Conflict of Interest, State Records Show Her Husband’s Company had 21 Produced Water Spills – 11 Classified as “Major”

At least eighteen of the Logos company “produced water” spills occurred since Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed Krista McWilliams as Water Quality Control Commissioner in April of 2019.

“I have no conflicts of interest, professional or otherwise.” – Commissioner Krista McWilliams

At the opening of the first week of hearings on New Mexico Environment Department’s “produced water rule” proposal, the issue of conflict of interest was raised regarding members of the Water Quality Control Commission.

The Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) is the public body which will vote on any new rule dealing with heavily polluted “produced water” – a by product of fracking.

Oil and gas fracking operations generate billions of gallons of produced water, which contain “hundreds of chemicals … deemed most likely to pose a health risk” and lacking both toxicity information and approved testing methods.”

Produced Water, as a commodity, and hydrogen energy development, are top initiatives of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and NMED Secretary James Kenney.

As reported in The Candle last week, New Energy Economy, the Center for Biological Diversity, and WildEarth Guardians filed a motion requesting that the WQCC cancel the hearing because of alleged failures of several Commission members to properly file financial disclosures.

The Chair of the WQCC decided not to take action on the motion filed by the environmental groups, instead announcing that counsel had advised him that he could poll the members as to whether they had any conflicts of interests.

One of the members attending, Toby Velasquez, the States Parks Division Director, stated he had a personal conflict of interest. He did not disclose what it might be, however he did recuse himself from participating in the hearing.

However, as also reported in The Candle, WQCC member Krista McWilliams is the current Engineering Operations Manager for Logos Resources, LLC, a local, Farmington based oil and gas company.

McWilliams stated at the WQCC hearing, “I have no conflicts of interest, professional or otherwise.”

Her husband, Jay Paul McWilliams, is the CEO and/or manager member of various oil related entities identified with Logos.

McWilliams made no reference to her employment at LOGOS Energy, LLC, where she is the Vice President Of Operations Engineering.

In reviewing records of the Oil Conservation Division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, The Candle found 21 reported “produced water releases” by LOGOS OPERATING, LLC.

The cause of the spills included equipment failure, corrosion, repair and maintenance, overflow of tank, pit, etc., other, and human error.

Eleven of the spills were rated as “major.”

At least eighteen produced water spills by Logos have occurred since Governor Lujan Grisham appointed McWilliams to the Water Quality Control Commission in April of 2019.

One of the major spills of produced water was reported as recently as March 3, 2024.

In her capacity as the Vice President Of Operations Engineering, it is likely that McWilliams was aware of the spills.

The Candle left a message at the Logos offices this morning asking to speak with McWilliams.

The McWilliams receive income and royalties from oil and gas engineering and operations management as well as from consulting with major oil companies, including providing “support for local and national clients including ConocoPhillips, LINN Energy, Pioneer Resources and Logos Resources.”

According to a detailed Source NM story filed today by reporter Danielle Prokup, “McWilliams, told Source NM that she has no conflict of interests, and does not meet the state laws for additional disclosure reporting to the Secretary of State.

Prokup also reports that McWilliams wrote, “…neither LOGOS Energy or LOGOS Operating LLC are discharge permit holders or applicants,” via a response email.

There are no discharge permits currently allowed for “produced water” in New Mexico.

However, issues relative to the potential discharge of produced water are within the purview of the hearing that McWilliams is participating in.

If The Candle is contacted by McWilliams in response to our request to speak with her, this reporting will be updated.

More on the WQCC hearings on matters related to produced water later this week.