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Herrell Bill Exempts New Mexico from Biden's Ban on New Oil & Gas Leases

February 3, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) today introduced the Protecting New Mexico's Jobs and Public Education System Act. The legislation would exempt oil and gas development on federal lands in the State of New Mexico from President Joe Biden's moratorium.

"New Mexico stands to lose more than any other state under Biden's ban," said Herrell. "The loss of jobs and the loss of funding for public education would be absolutely devastating."

According to an analysis last year, 57 percent of onshore oil and 31 percent of onshore natural gas produced on federal lands in the United States is produced in New Mexico. The revenue from royalties and taxes on the industry accounts for more than a third of the state's annual budget — including more than $1 billion for state school systems.

"I've asked the governor what her plan is to make up this loss in state revenue," Herrell added, referencing her January 25th letter to Governor Lujan Grisham. "Even optimistic estimates for land-lease payments and taxes on proposed wind and solar projects fail to fill the hole the loss of oil and gas revenue will leave in our state budget."

The employment outlook is equally bleak if federal lands in the state remain off limits to new oil and gas development. According to the American Petroleum Institute, the industry supported 117,000 jobs in New Mexico in 2018. By contrast, the American Wind Energy Association and Solar Energy Industries Association claim just 3,000 and 2,021 direct jobs respectively in New Mexico.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average wages in oil and gas extraction are approximately $48 an hour while average wages in wind electricity generation and solar photovoltaic installation were approximately $39 and $21 an hour respectively.

"Biden's energy policy replaces a lot of good-paying jobs with a lot fewer lower-paying jobs," Herrell noted.