Share
News

Republicans Sound Alarm as Biden's 'Knee-Jerk' Anti-Drilling Policy Threatens to Sink State's Economy

Share

President Joe Biden’s 60-day moratorium on new oil and natural gas leases and drilling permits is prompting widespread concerns in New Mexico, whose economy hinges on the industry’s success.

Top Republicans in the state as well as local leaders in communities that border the Permian Basin — one of the most productive regions in the U.S. — say any moves to make the suspension permanent would be devastating for the state.

Half of New Mexico’s production happens on federal land and amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties each year.

Congressional members from other western states also are raising concerns, saying the ripple effects of the moratorium will hurt small businesses already struggling because of pandemic lockdowns.

“During his inauguration, President Biden spoke about bringing our nation together. Eliminating drilling on public lands will cost thousands of New Mexicans their jobs and destroy what’s left of our state’s economy,” Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway told The Associated Press on Friday.

Trending:
Top Conservatives Issue Warning Minutes After Hunter Biden Verdict: 'Don't Fall for It'

“How does that bring us together? Environmental efforts should be fair and well-researched, not knee-jerk mandates that just hurt an already impoverished state.”

In Utah, the state’s delegation asked Biden to reconsider what they called an arbitrary decision. They argued that such a widespread suspension of routine permitting decisions normally made in the field is unprecedented.

Industry groups said the order effectively brings all regulatory activity to a halt, from routine requests that arise during the normal course of business to requests for rights of way for new pipelines designed as part of efforts to reduce venting and flaring — a practice that Democrats have targeted in their fight against climate change.

“It really has the opposite intent,” Robert McEntyre, spokesman for the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, said.

Do you support President Biden's moratorium on drilling?

“It means some natural gas is not going to be captured, and that’s not what operators want to do. They want to capture it and send it to market.”

New Mexico’s sole Republican in Congress, freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell, was the only member of the state’s delegation to speak out after Biden’s order was issued.

She said she’s supporting Republican-backed legislation to prevent the Biden administration from imposing any permanent plans that would limit new leases and drilling permits on federal land.

The issue has been a thorny one for Democrats in New Mexico, where the oil and gas industry has been vilified despite its role as the state’s top economic driver. Aside from funneling revenues to the state’s coffers, the industry supports about 100,000 direct and related jobs.

The office of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the administration is reviewing the federal action and the short- and long-term fiscal implications for the state.

Related:
Shocking Footage: Barge Crashes into Bridge, Causing Partial Collapse and Oil Spill

“Certainly we all understand the critical importance of this industry to New Mexico’s bottom line and of the imperative to diversify our state economy and energy portfolio,” Lujan Grisham spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett said in an email.

The executive order includes an exception giving a small number of senior U.S. Interior Department officials authority to approve actions that otherwise would be suspended. But industry officials expect there to be a bottleneck given the amount of requests nationwide.

The order has drawn praise from environmentalists, who have been seeking to rein in development across the West.


[jwplayer siwkmNN7]

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, , , , , ,
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation