FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2021
39 NM Republicans call on Biden and Haaland to consider significant negative impact energy industry shutdown will have
Santa Fe- In a joint letter, 39 New Mexico Senate and House Republican lawmakers appealed to President Biden and Interior Department Secretary Haaland to consider the negative implications to New Mexico in pausing federal fossil fuel leases. The Republican response aligns with Democratic Governor Lujan Grisham's request of Biden to oppose a federal lease pause on the industry. 24 Democrats recently sent a letter that contradicted Lujan Grisham’s position and supported a shutdown of the New Mexico energy industry.
“When we talk about energy production in New Mexico, it is imperative that we use facts, not rhetoric. The facts are, New Mexico’s state budget relies heavily on revenues from oil and gas, and a federal halting of leases will have a devastating impact on our economy and cost us thousands of jobs,” said Senator Gay Kernan (District 42-Chaves, Eddy, and Lea). “Despite the claims of those who wish to permanently shutter the industry, there is no plan in place to replace this revenue or these local, well-paying jobs. We should think long and hard before jeopardizing New Mexico’s future for the sake of hollow policies that will not have any meaningful impact on the earth’s climate.”
The letter, signed by both Republican legislative caucuses, addresses several key issues missing from the argument that progressive politicians are using to support a federal ban on oil and gas leases. Nearly 40%, or $3 billion dollars, of New Mexico’s annual operating budget is generated by the local oil and gas industry. The majority of the $3 billion in energy revenue funds New Mexico’s K-12 education system- an important factor in a state currently under a court order (Yazzie v. Martinez) to address disparities in educational opportunities for at-risk and minority students. Additionally, the letter points out issues that will arise with unemployment and the state budget if the oil and gas industry is shut down without proper consideration of diversifying the state’s economy. Much is left to the imagination in terms of what industry can provide stable jobs and revenues if the state’s oil and gas industry is forced to close down. New Mexico currently ranks in the top three nationally for unemployment and the state’s economy still heavily relies on oil and gas revenues.
“We cannot let the cart get out before the horse on this, shutting down an industry that funds our schools and brings in nearly half our revenue is dangerous and just plain bad policy,” said State Representative Larry Scott (District 62- Lea County). “The movement to shut down oil and gas will disproportionately affect many low-income communities that make up the majority of New Mexico. It is time for policy makers to start telling the truth about the real impacts of this utopian ‘green energy economy’ and explain to New Mexicans where jobs will be lost, how their standard of living will decline, and why their utility bills will skyrocket.”