NM officials express concerns over President Biden’s EO halting oil production on federal land

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We have received several updates related to concerns over President Biden’s Executive Orders enacting a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing on federal land. 

According to a March 10 Politico article, New Mexico Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján both urged the Biden administration not to make its pause on new oil and gas leases on federal lands permanent. The Senators wrote that “an extended and indefinite suspension would have significant impacts on our workforce and state funding for education and creates unnecessary uncertainty for New Mexico’s state and local tax revenues” and made similar comments during the confirmation hearing for Secretary of Energy Sec. Granholm, when they pointed out the thousands of New Mexican jobs on the line. 

Senator Luján also sent a similar letter to the City of Carlsbad and reached out to me directly. While we certainly will continue to have differences of opinion, we do sincerely appreciate his direct outreach. 

We also met with Representative Yvette Herrell several weeks ago to discuss this issue. Representative Herrell has issued a number of letters to both the U.S. Department of Interior and the State of New Mexico, expressing a number of concerns, including many over the suspension on the approval of derail oil and gas permits, leases and rights-of-way, among other things. 

“This order has created great uncertainty and made day-to-day operations much more difficult for oil and gas producers operating on federal lands,” Herrell wrote. 

Both Senators have also pushed for additional clarity on the executive orders as well.

Additionally, New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham recently joined a group of governors from western, oil-producing states in voicing their concerns with a March 1 letter calling on the Biden administration to consider the specific issues in oil-producing states when enacting energy policies. 

“Climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies that rely on federal land disproportionately affect western states, given the high percentage of federal lands in western states,” the governors wrote. “We do not want to see a shift of jobs and energy activity to other states or nations that may not have enacted the strong environmental standards adopted by many western states.”

We were also informed that the governor made similar statements to the Department of Interior in a conversation on March 11. 

Rep. Herrell has also proposed the Protecting Our Wealth and Energy Resources bill, which would prevent the President from prohibiting leases on federal lands without the approval of Congress and withdrawing federal lands from mineral development without the approval of Congress. She has urged other elected officials to work to convince President Biden that such moratoriums are harmful. 

“Our state is facing an economic and financial crisis if we do not act,” Herrell wrote. 

We are glad to see elected officials from all western states pushing back against these unhelpful executive orders. 

 

From the office of Mayor Dale Janway 

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