New Mexico governor seeks to offset Biden’s oil policies

New Mexico could lose nearly three-quarters of $1 billion over the next few years if it sees even a modest reduction of oil and gas production due to the federal government’s actions to curb leasing on public lands, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham warned in a letter sent Monday to President Joe Biden.

The first-term Democratic governor said financial losses of that magnitude would have real effects on the ability to achieve goals like universal access to early childhood education in a state that has been plagued for decades by high poverty rates and low educational outcomes.

The governor also noted that more than half of all oil and gas wells are on federal land so any changes to leasing and permitting on federal land would disproportionally affect New Mexico, pushing producers to Texas and other states where there are more opportunities on private land.

“Those shifts would not only cause economic harm to New Mexico, but would actually lead to increased emissions by shifting production to areas that have not adopted our strict environmental standards. This runs counter to our shared climate goals,” she wrote.

The governor asked Biden to grant New Mexico energy transition credit for actions the state already is taking to address pollution and to mandate more renewable energy over the next two decades.