Haaland holds future of NM oil, gas workers - Albuquerque Journal

Haaland holds future of NM oil, gas workers

The strength, courage and dedication of our current political leaders as they work to address the complex issues of the day is admirable. As a registered Democrat whose livelihood is immersed in oil and gas, I am unique. And yet I appreciate the commitment of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the Biden administration to combat climate change.

In our family-run business, we dedicate ourselves not for personal riches, but for our employees and their families. We are certainly not “Big Oil,” nor are we hoarding permits, but we do take pride in our community and our contribution to it.

Already, we have seen the immediate impacts of President Joe Biden’s executive order to pause oil and gas leasing and permitting on federal lands. We had brought one of our drilling rigs – which directly employs 25 people and accounts for 100 more indirectly – into action but recently laid it down due to the pause.

These well-paying and inclusionary jobs, the kind of which are critical in northwest New Mexico, are now on hold indefinitely.

Due to the president’s action, there is no effective or predictable way to obtain permits or approvals in the foreseeable future. This uncertainty could kill the drilling project forever, and the jobs right along with it.

Our story is not unique; it appears to be on constant repeat across the country. I fear for our business survival, our employees, and for the hardships facing those we are not able to employ.

During her confirmation, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said she “will work (her) heart out for everyone: (including) the families of fossil fuel workers who help build our country.” Seemingly, Haaland recognizes that every oil and gas worker is essential and they sacrifice so all others can keep their lights on, heat running and drive their cars.

I can only hope Haaland, and our leaders in state and federal government, don’t overlook the plight of our communities. It is not about the thousands; instead, it is about the individuals. There are people waiting to be called to action, waiting for the pause to be over and wondering why their jobs are being sacrificed.

While the debate in Washington advances, our family-owned business remains ready to put people to work. As our family-owned business goes, so goes the ability of friends, family and neighbors to pay their bills and make ends meet.

As New Mexicans, we support the idea of a cleaner future and have a tradition of implementing strong environmental safeguards. Yet, federal leasing and permitting delays have dire implications within our community. We can’t even begin to think about the long term when putting food on the table tomorrow is in jeopardy.

As Haaland said, “There is no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come.” Certainly, this is true; and most likely natural gas will elevate in significance as we transition to net zero by 2050. As we collaborate and find the balance, I pray our leaders will stay committed to a developing a comprehensive energy portfolio that respects people – especially those in critical industries like oil and gas.

I trust that Haaland remembers, and understands, that the weight of her decisions is carried upon the shoulders of each and every oil and gas worker, their families and their children; as she proudly represents New Mexico as our next secretary of the Interior. Our future depends upon it.

Jason Sandel, a Farmington native, has served on the Farmington City Council, chairman of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association and the Methane Advisory Panel. He is currently a member of the New Mexico Economic Recovery Council, a co-convener of the New Mexico Energy Transition Committee, Chairman of the Western States and Tribal Nations Natural Gas Initiative, and a member of the Roosevelt Project.

 

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » Haaland holds future of NM oil, gas workers


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 yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Don't fall for health insurance scams in NM
From the newspaper
Open enrollment for New Mexico's health ... Open enrollment for New Mexico's health insurance marketplace, beWellnm, is underway and runs ...
2
Legislature must fix 'devastating' consequences of House Bill 6
From the newspaper
As we have written and spoken ... As we have written and spoken about in the past, House Bill 6 was passed by the New Mexico Legislatu ...
3
Special education teacher: We should teach cursive to all ...
From the newspaper
It utilizes hand-eye coordination boosting brain ... It utilizes hand-eye coordination boosting brain development
4
Editorial: New Mexicans need to better understand paid sick ...
Editorials
When the contentious Healthy Workplaces Act ... When the contentious Healthy Workplaces Act passed the New Mexico Legislature in the waning days of ...
5
Volunteers needed for vital CASA program
ABQnews Seeker
Goal is 'to have 100% case ... Goal is 'to have 100% case coverage,' says executive director of CASA Partners 4NMKids
6
Proposed anti-abortion law still tabled in Clovis
ABQnews Seeker
City's mayor breaks a tied vote ... City's mayor breaks a tied vote on the issue
7
Fleet WR Porter enters transfer portal
College
He's one of several Lobos who've ... He's one of several Lobos who've opted to leave
8
NM expands help with filling court forms
ABQnews Seeker
Court-scribe program helps people understand and ... Court-scribe program helps people understand and complete documents
9
Lobos-'Cats is a pairing good for both programs
College
Sunday's matchup in the Pit didn't ... Sunday's matchup in the Pit didn't feel like just another pre-conference women's b ...