Dear Senator Heinrich, Senator Lujan and Representative Herrell:
We are urgently requesting your support in opposing President Biden’s executive orders suspending drilling permits on federal lands. Our constituents, who are also your constituents, are gravely concerned about the negative impact these orders will have on our state, now and for generations to come.
An unchecked suspension will ultimately cost tens of thousands of New Mexicans their jobs and result in this state losing billions of dollars, which could have been invested in our schools, toward our seniors, and with our roads.
With an end to the COVID-19 pandemic on the horizon, New Mexicans are tasked with attempting to accomplish the greatest economic recovery of our lifetimes. The vast oil and gas resources beneath the Delaware Basin are the key to that recovery, and they also offer a unique opportunity for our state to move beyond decades of poverty. We are all aware of the fact that the oil and gas industry brought $5.9 billion to New Mexico over the previous two years. New Mexico, of any state, will be the most economically devastated by these executive orders. In addition, Carlsbad is the epicenter of our state’s oil and gas operations, and therefore will face the most severe economic consequences.
Under this policy, states with an abundance of federal land are at a major disadvantage. When the COVID-19 pandemic finally ends, the use of petroleum and petroleum products will substantially increase. Where will these resources come from? Many oil and gas producers are simply going to move their drilling efforts away from the state or out of the country. We have already been made aware of rigs and businesses moving their operations from New Mexico to Texas during the course of preparing this letter. In addition, for the sake of national security, preserving our country’s energy independence is also extremely important.
National comments that thousands of oilfield workers can “just find other jobs” have come across as unsympathetic, unrealistic, and certainly unhelpful. Rural, working-class Americans feel dismissed and disenfranchised, and they are fearful for their families and the future.
We hope you will convey our sincere disdain for these orders and do everything within your power to protect the energy industry of New Mexico, and the thousands of workers who are being negatively impacted.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway
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