Laura Paskus

There used to be big talk about a big boom coming to the San Juan Basin. Industry thought they’d sink 20,000 new oil wells. Companies wanted to take advantage of oil deposits squeezed into tiny fissures in tight shale deep underground.

City commissioners in the southern New Mexico town of Truth or Consequences are proposing a moratorium on well drilling in the city.

Officials took the unusual step Tuesday night to enable a study of whether the number of wells tapping into the town's famed hot springs is harming the resource, considered by some to be sacred and medicinal. The thermal springs are the lifeblood of the town and its eclectic mix of inns and spas.