New Mexico taxpayers saved more than $1,100 per household last year thanks to oil and natural gas development and other economic activity on state trust lands, according to a new report by New Mexicans for Economic Prosperity (NM4EP). State trust lands generated a record $851.9 million in revenue for the state, contributing to more than $3.5 billion distributed to schools, universities, hospitals and other public institutions during the past five years. These impressive earnings represent a 28 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2017.
Oil and natural gas development contributed approximately 93 percent of the revenue, or $791.7 million, despite accounting for less than a quarter of leased state trust land.
Despite industry’s ability to generate immense benefits with relatively little public land use, many 2020 Democratic presidential candidates seem all too eager to enact moratoriums on new oil and gas development across federal lands. Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro have all committed to halting new development.
Their pledges ignore the reality of how growing oil and natural gas production is improving lives in state like New Mexico. BLM New Mexico raised over $15.3 million in its most recent oil and gas lease sale alone, highlighting the potential impact on state coffers if such a moratorium was enacted.
Oil and gas rentals, bonuses, and interest contributed 65 percent of all Land Maintenance Fund revenue and 98 percent of all royalties collected by the state, according to the NM4EP report. This revenue is helping improve health care access in rural communities and fund public schools and universities across the state. In the past five years alone, state trust revenues have contributed $3.1 billion to public education, helping graduation rates to reach an all-time-high.
As New Mexico Oil and Gas Association Executive Director Ryan Flynn said recently:
“Helping pave the way for future generations of New Mexicans is a responsibility our industry shares with everyone who cares about this state, and this responsibility is not limited to providing support for our schools.”
In addition, while crude oil production in the state rose 361 percent from 2000 to 2018 (and natural gas production grew 13 percent from 2017 to 2018 alone), methane emissions have continued to decline. According to a recent EID analysis, emission intensity across the Permian Basin has decreased 57 percent since 2011.
These remarkable figures are an important reminder that record U.S. oil and natural gas production means better lives for students, families and entire communities in New Mexico and across the country.
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