From rare earth minerals to natural gas and oil, the state has the opportunity to put the United States on the map as the world’s leader in safe, reliable mineral production.
Unfortunately, after years of the government layering on red tape, many of these industries no longer exist. This doesn’t just hamper our country’s ability to compete and provide for itself – it hampers and kills everything from job growth and economic production to school modernization and critical infrastructure projects.
In New Mexico, roughly 40 percent of the state’s operating funds come from revenues off of oil and gas production. This does not risk the New Mexican beauty we hold dear and it does not threaten the safety of the air we breathe or the water we drink. Our state can be economically successful while also protecting our citizens. Sadly, this was not the view of some, and it was not the view of the Obama administration.
During the last few months of his time in office, Obama attempted to crush job growth in New Mexico and cripple our nation’s reliability on domestic energy production through a regulation known as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Methane Venting and Flaring Rule. This shocking regulation directly impacted New Mexico and was done for no other reason than believing oil and gas production cannot, and should not, be done in the United States anymore.
We know this based on one thing: BLM has no actual regulatory authority to enforce the Venting and Flaring Rule.
Statutory authority to regulate air quality is solely vested with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In order for this regulation to actually work, Congress would have to authorize the BLM to do the job of the EPA, creating an additional, unnecessary regulatory authority to enforce the venting and flaring regulation, only growing our bureaucracy and harming the taxpayer. It solely adds bureaucratic and duplicative layers of monitoring and reporting to all of New Mexico’s small and midsize oil and gas producers.
This doesn’t just mean less energy security and less revenue to the state, it also means fewer good-paying jobs, as many as 2,200 fewer. Supporters argue this regulation is necessary to ensure taxpayers receive their fair share from the production of oil and gas, but there’s no justifiable proof to this claim.
The truth of the matter is, methane emissions from natural gas have declined 21 percent since 1990 while production has increased by 47 percent.
Producers in this field were making great strides in capturing their product through increased research and technologies. The BLM’s crippling regulations leading to increased production cost does nothing to assist in these technological advancements.
The impacts of the BLM Methane Rule are devastating to the economy of New Mexico. Jobs will be lost, funding for education, hospitals, law enforcement and other essential services will be reduced, and our economy will continue to suffer. This regulation was clearly directed to appease special interest groups over the livelihood of New Mexicans. Rather than push away the reliable domestic production of energy and forcing companies to leave New Mexico, the Bureau of Land Management should work with Congress to expedite the process for approving small infrastructure pipeline projects as an alternative to venting and flaring.
I am from New Mexico. It has always been, and will always be my home. I will never stop fighting to make it a safer, more prosperous place to live, and that is why I adamantly support the removal of this rule.