As tensions continue to escalate overseas following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the need to reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil and gas is critical. With record inflation rates and skyrocketing gas prices, I have never wanted our country to prosper as much as I do now. As a longtime resident of the Land of Enchantment, I have seen the state of New Mexico through the good and the bad. The Department of the Interior released its long-awaited report evaluating the federal leasing program and moved to raise oil and gas leasing charges, sparking uncertainty about the future of federal leasing. I worry about the impact this news will have on our Commonwealth with the steps the Biden administration has taken to weaken American energy leadership, at a time when energy security is paramount.
Federal rental income has been the anchor of New Mexico’s welfare for decades. An analysis by the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) of state revenues and expenditures reveals that oil and natural gas production and development on federal lands in New Mexico accounted for $2 billion in revenues in 2020. Beneficiaries of oil and gas revenues are sectors including public education, state infrastructure, law enforcement, public health, and others. Even with this abundance of fiscal resources received from the oil and gas industry, New Mexico is still among the three poorest states in the country. If federal lawmakers ever pass “Build Back Better” legislation with a proposed methane tax — or indeed a tax on natural gas — our state’s energy sector will be hit even harder.
Raised in Las Cruces, I saw the real benefit the oil and gas industry brings to our state. My grandfather worked in the energy industry for El Paso Gas, which was later acquired by Kinder Morgan. Due to its size and relevance to our region, oil and gas companies have a strong presence there. My community is deeply invested in the health of the industry. If oil and gas operations were to be hampered by the harmful policy decisions of the current administration, the ripple effects would be severe.
The natural gas and petroleum industry supports maximizing the benefits of federal energy development for American workers and their communities. Energy produced on federal lands and waters accounts for 11% of US natural gas production and nearly a quarter of US oil production. National resource development promotes widespread access to affordable and reliable fuels, and this activity generates more than $100 billion in government revenue annually, supporting public education, infrastructure and conservation projects across the country. America.
New Mexico’s oil and gas industry rebounded to pre-pandemic levels in key categories, delivering record amounts of oil to markets and cash to state coffers. But what hasn’t rebounded are jobs in the state’s oilfields, which are expected to remain 25% or more below pre-pandemic levels for at least the next five years.
Plus, I’ll have to watch public school systems suffer without adequate funding. … New Mexico public school students are highly dependent on the success of these big corporations that lease federal land to make a profit, and if that changes, the repercussions will be felt locally. …
President Biden should realize that there are alternative and much more effective ways to solve the problem of climate change that do not harm hard workers and young students. Our state must maintain a healthy business environment for oil and gas companies or our families and children will suffer for decades. It is for the sake of my young children and the state dear to me that I do not support Biden’s federal hire program and call on the administration to reconsider this policy.