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Justin Wasser, (202) 753-7016, jwasser@earthworks.org

Background: The New Mexico legislature tabled today a House Joint Memorial bill requesting a waiver from the Biden administration’s pause of oil and gas leasing on federal lands by a committee vote of 8-3. Industry claims of near-term impacts to state revenue have been discounted by New Mexico state agencies and the Department of Interior. Earthworks’ investigations of oil and gas operations have repeatedly documented significant and dangerous pollution in the state.

Statement delivered to the NM House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee by Earthworks Senior Policy Analyst Nadia Steinzor: 

“House Joint Memorial Bill 3 is based on inaccurate assumptions and reflects the dangerous stranglehold of industry on state politics that prevents New Mexico from adequately protecting the health of residents and climate from harmful impacts of oil and gas pollution.

“President Biden’s oil and gas leasing moratorium aims to ensure people are put before the interests of polluters. The move will not immediately impact revenue in the state budget, as both the US Department of Interior and New Mexico state officials have made very clear. Yet, industry continues to fearmonger despite the fact that most available federal land is already leased and operators sit on over 6000 permits that they have yet to drill.

“The President’s moratorium, focus on environmental justice, and promise to craft a government-wide climate action plan echo commitments by Governor Lujan Grisham to swiftly and carefully transition to a healthier, just and more equitable energy future for New Mexico. Now is the time for leadership not tethering New Mexico to an untenable status quo.”



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