NM Governor Thanks O&G Association, Wants Regulation Officials To Work With Energy Sector

October 8, 2019

The governor of New Mexico is telling oil and gas executives she appreciates their contributions to her state and is asking for help in drafting methane emissions regulations, despite backing efforts earlier this year to increase O&G royalties and promoting reduced reliance on fossil fuels.

She also said Tuesday that her environmental and oilfield regulation Cabinet secretaries are there to work with and for the energy sector.

Speaking to the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham acknowledged the increasing flow of oil and gas money into state coffers is allowing state leaders to begin underwriting public education, including a recent proposal for tuition-free public college, “opportunities that we haven’t seen, ever,”

Regarding her speech, the Associated Press noted that Lujan Grisham outlined an “all-of-the-above energy strategy,” while calling on the association to help in putting together regulations to limit methane emissions.

Such emissions are an economic burden for the state, with the Enviornmental Defense Fund estimating that $275 million worth of natural gas is wasted in NM, losing an additional $43 million in tax and royalty revenue each year in wasted methane.

Lujan Graham is a Democrat with a sometimes difficult relationship with oil and gas interests, joining other like-minded governors in promoting reduced reliance on fossil fuels and backing the “Energy Transition Act” to require utilities to draw 50% of their power from renewable sources by 2030 — all of it by 2045.

Democrats also make up majorities in the NM House and Senate.

In February, the legislature looked at a bill that would stop fracking permits until 2023, but it never made it out of the lege.

In March, Lujan Graham pushed to extend use of state O&G income to increase early childhood education and to increase O&G royalties, but the efforts didn’t make it out of the state house.

Association attendees also heard U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt say the Trump administration is cutting bureaucracy and fostering job growth throughout the country.