New Mexico is poised to receive $1.11 billion in revenue from activities on its public lands in fiscal year 2019, according to the New Mexico State Land Office. This is a 30 percent increase over the $852 million generated in FY 2018 – and it’s being driven by the oil and natural gas industry.
As the Albuquerque Journal reports:
“The oil and gas boom in southeastern New Mexico accounts for most of the increase. Industry-related income from royalties, lease sales and other recurring payments jumped 31 percent to $1.04 billion in FY 2019, up from $791.7 million in FY 2018.”
Oil and natural gas accounted for 93 percent of the revenue generated across the state.
The oil and natural gas industry is vital to New Mexico’s growing economy and supporting public services like education and health care. As Stephanie Garcia Richard, the Commissioner of the State Land Office, told the newspaper:
“‘Not only do we distribute funds on a monthly basis, but we are also the sole contributor to the Land Grant Permanent Fund – the third largest public education trust in the nation – which has grown exponentially and provides vital resources to our public schools and other beneficiaries.’
“Every dollar earned by the Land Office is a dollar taxpayers do not have to pay to support public institutions, Garcia Richard added.”
Garcia Richard further explained that it’s also helping New Mexicans experience major energy savings:
“Taxpaying New Mexicans are saving about $1,500 per household per year. That makes us a unique, $1 billion business in the country with the proceeds going directly back into the local community.” (emphasis added)
New Mexico isn’t the only state that has received big revenue windfalls in recent weeks from oil and gas production. Wyoming just wrapped up its second quarter Bureau of Land Management lease sales that fetched $22 million, about half of which will go to the state.
The news from New Mexico comes just a week after a group of Democratic lawmakers in Congress re-introduced a set of bills aimed at tearing down the oil and natural gas industry.
Dubbed the “Frack Pack,” the bills claim to close “loopholes” in the regulations surrounding oil and natural gas development that they say is leading to higher emissions and pollution. But the proposed legislation is based on faulty notions and incorrect interpretations of laws.
In reality, oil and natural gas production already is subject to an ever-tightening framework of federal and state regulations. This, combined with industry innovation and leadership, has resulted in unprecedented clean air and other environmental gains for the United States since the shale revolution began.
These bills would have dire effects on New Mexico, Wyoming and other states that benefit from oil and natural gas production. Duplicative regulations, not meant to increase safety, but rather to attack the industry, will only lead to job losses, a slowing economy, and less money for the public services that benefit everyone.
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