SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is criticizing President Joe Biden’s new limits on oil and gas production, saying they don’t make any sense for New Mexico. Oil and gas production here in New Mexico funds many of our state’s top priorities like education, and the governor fears that Pres. Biden’s energy plan will hurt the state.
Pres. Biden promised to slow the nation’s contribution to climate change, he temporarily halted new oil and gas leases on federal lands when he took office. An order, the governor has problems with. “This doesn’t make any sense,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said.
In a meeting last week with the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, Lujan Grisham raised concerns over the president’s order. “I am clearly concerned,” Lujan Grisham said. “Right out of the gate with very little guidance, we have an announcement to stall, a moratorium, on lease applications.”
In a letter to Pres. Biden Monday, the governor said more than 60% of New Mexico’s production happens on federal land, and New Mexico will be disproportionately impacted by changes to leasing and permitting on federal land as producers shift operations to other states like Texas with more private land available for development. “That just hurts New Mexico,” Lujan Grisham said. “There are no environmental standards there [Texas].”
She argues that shifts to other states would not only cause economic harm to New Mexico, but it would also lead to increased emissions by moving production to states she said have not adopted as strict of environmental standards as New Mexico has. She is asking Pres. Biden for New Mexico to be granted energy transition credit for actions the state has already taken toward renewable energy. “Create a program that gives credit to states who are well beyond where the federal government and other states are, in terms of climate change initiatives,” Lujan Grisham said. “If we do that, New Mexico will get an exemption or waiver.”
Lujan Grisham’s stance is getting support from across the aisle. Republican Congresswoman Yvette Herrell wrote a letter to the governor last week. In the letter, Herrell said she was pleased that Lujan Grisham and U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan have “Come to see how devastating this moratorium could be to our state.”
Lujan Grisham said oil and gas production remains a significant economic force in New Mexico. She said the state will lose more than $700 million over four years if there is a 10% decline in production. “I feel as optimistic as I can that we win this,” Lujan Grisham said. “I just don’t know exactly what the win will look like.”
Heinrich, Lujan, and Herrell were all unavailable for comment Monday.