CARLSBAD, N.M. — Federal funding to help shore up an underground cavern might not be available until 2019 if the Carlsbad Brine Well Advisory Authority can’t meet application requirements by the November deadline.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports ( ) that committee members expressed doubt at a Wednesday meeting that they could acquire the funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the current cycle. The next cycle of allocations would not make the funding available until 2019.

State Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Secretary Ken McQueen says about $4 million could be acquired through FEMA, but the agency requires applicants to note how the rest of the project’s costs will be funded.

The ground above the former brine well was deemed unstable in 2008. A collapse was predicted as soon as 2020.

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