Biden's ban on federal leases would hurt state - Albuquerque Journal

Biden’s ban on federal leases would hurt state

Over the past decade, New Mexico has experienced an energy boom fueled by oil and gas development, approximately one-third of which is on federal lands. Managing these vast expanses of natural resources that lay beneath these lands has always required balance and practicality; unfortunately, some candidates are suggesting policies that threaten to undermine this important economic contributor to our state.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s plan to make millions of energy-rich acres controlled by the Bureau of Land Management off limits to exploration and extraction would do more harm than good here in New Mexico. It would suppress job creation and economic growth as well as deprive our state of much-needed revenue for things like education, health care and public safety. It would also ironically undermine Biden’s ultimate goal to reduce emissions linked to climate change by bringing higher-emitting fuel sources like coal back onto the American energy market.

Recently, the American Petroleum Institute released an analysis highlighting the significant economic and environmental impacts that a ban on federal leasing would have on the United States. The analysis indicates, among other concerns, a ban on federal leasing would cost tens of billions in government revenue.

More than a third of New Mexico is federal land. The potential economic benefits of tapping natural resources on this acreage are significant as the revenues generated through leasing, fees and production by private interests flow back to the American public. For example, in 2018, a single lease sale provided nearly a billion dollars – with nearly half of that money coming back to New Mexico and the other half going to the federal treasury, benefitting taxpayers across the country. Last year, New Mexico also received the highest disbursement of any state, $1.17 billion, which is also the largest allocation received in the state’s history. This money enabled communities in the state to provide critical services, improve schools and maintain infrastructure.

As you might imagine, elected officials from both parties are concerned about what a federal leasing ban could mean for New Mexico. These taxes and royalties account for 39% of the state’s annual budget, including over $1.4 billion for public schools.

Even Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has touted her local efforts to combat climate change, appreciates the need to balance these goals against the economic impacts of shuttering the oil and gas industry. In her remarks last year to the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, the governor referenced these trade-offs, admitting “without the energy effort in this state, no one gets to make education the top priority.”

Development of natural gas in the state benefits both business and household consumers by making available needed energy at an affordable price. I know from experience that those vying for elected office are usually quite sincere when they talk about “kitchen-table” issues working families face. Given that fuel price fluctuations hit low-income communities much harder than more well-to-do consumers, it is hard to see how limiting the supply of abundant and inexpensive natural gas on federal lands is in the best interest of these families and communities.

Meanwhile, the radical progressives insist that drastic measures to halt carbon emissions outweigh the benefits the citizens of New Mexico and other states realize from developing energy resources on federal lands, and Biden has adopted their position. Should he win the election, however, he will have to make tough choices based on facts – and the fact is, thanks in no small part, natural gas in the United States has led the world in reducing carbon emissions over the last 10 years.

However many trillions of dollars a Biden administration would spend on an eventual post-carbon future, we need to run an economy and heat our homes along the way. We cannot do that if we deny access to energy development on federal lands. Not only would it do significant harm to New Mexico’s economy, it would undermine revenue that goes to fund critical government programs. And it is irresponsible climate change policy, too. Instead, we should be working to focus on policies that could help move our state’s economy and environmental policies forward.

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » Biden’s ban on federal leases would hurt state

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

New immersive experience lets eventgoers interact with the legendary ...
The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum saw an ... The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum saw an opportunity to work with Albuquerque-based Electric Playhouse to create 'Music For The Eyes: A New Georgia O'Keeffe Experience
Historic locomotive Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe 2926 almost ...
The AT&SF 2926 was built in ... The AT&SF 2926 was built in 1944 and ran a million miles in the American Southwest before being retired to an Albuquerque park in ...
New Mexico town fiercely protective of its land and ...
Chilili's name is not to be ... Chilili's name is not to be confused with another small town in northern New Mexico called Chili, or the delicious condiment we put on ...
Eliminating mimosa seed pods can help larvae in check
Earlier this year you had some ... Earlier this year you had some sort of adult insects lay eggs throughout the mimosa, probably just at the spot where the flowers extended ...
'Grounded' explores the struggle between war and family
Fusion Theatre Company is staging 'Grounded' ... Fusion Theatre Company is staging 'Grounded' beginning on Friday, Oct. 7, at The Cell Theatre. The play runs on weekends through Oct. 16. 'Grounded' ...
'When the Dogs Stop Barking' explores the humanitarian crisis ...
Open at 516 ARTS through Dec. ... Open at 516 ARTS through Dec. 31, 'When the Dogs Stop Barking' exhibits the work of five artists exploring this humanitarian crisis spanning 1,954 ...
'Migratory' pairs the migration of plants and animals with ...
'Migratory,' developed by Mexico City artist ... 'Migratory,' developed by Mexico City artist Minerva Cuevas, will run at 516 ARTS through Dec. 31.
The third Fixed and Free Quarterly features a collection ...
Fifty-nine poets – the ... Fifty-nine poets – the majority from New Mexico – contributed the 112 poems that spice up the third and most ...
Via Ferrata, like the one in Telluride, are a ...
Via ferratas started in Italy during ... Via ferratas started in Italy during World War I to allow troops to pass through rugged alpine areas, the idea spread across Europe and ...