SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico oil and gas industry warned lawmakers that President Joe Biden’s pause on new oil and gas leasing on federal land could be devastating for the state. The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA) said oil and gas revenues on federal land in our state made up about $1.5 billion. That’s close to 20% of our state’s budget last year. Money that is heavily funneled to public education.

“There are 13,000 teachers whose salaries are directly funded by oil and gas revenue. So, there’s no state that has at more stake than New Mexico when it comes to revenue dependency of generation on federal lands,” said NMOGA President and CEO Ryan Flynn. The NMOGA said if the Biden administration doesn’t allow for additional leases on federal land in the state, companies could look elsewhere. That means New Mexico could lose out on billions in revenues and lose 62,000 jobs by 2022.

That’s why some lawmakers repeated what is heard often at the Roundhouse: That New Mexico is too dependent on oil and gas revenues. “I have been arguing for diversification in our industries for New Mexico for years,” said Sen. William Sharer (R- Farmington). “I love oil and gas but I also know that we have to have something else.”

The executive order from Pres. Biden is in response to his stance on climate change. The moratorium stops any more federal land from being used for oil and gas production.

After hearing some of the comments from the oil and gas industry, some state lawmakers in the Senate Finance Committee said they’ll have to be more conservative on our budget. Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez introduced a bill that would pause the state’s approval of new fracking permits for four years.