The Oil and Gas industry says they can’t afford to keep paying their rent to New Mexico because of the drop in energy prices so Republican State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn directed his office on Monday to allow companies to skip paying the rent they owe the state to lease public land for drilling.
“The beneficiaries of state trust lands — mainly the public schoolchildren of New Mexico — will be better served if wells are temporarily shut in, rather than producing at a lower price,” Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn told KOB.
Hold on there Mr. Dunn: aren’t those big oil and gas companies shelling out HUGE amounts of political donations to bankroll negative attack ads against Democrats around the state?
According to FollowTheMoney.org, Big Oil has contributed $942,495 to candidates directly in New Mexico so far this year (again, just for candidates).
And Republicans have received the lion’s share of Big Oil money in 2016, no surprise. 87% of their candidate contributions went to Republicans.
And Republican leadership in the State House seems to get a lot more attention from Big Oil.
And that’s just for candidates.
That doesn’t include PAC money, which is tougher to track.
But in the latest filings from earlier this week, Advance New Mexico Now, a major conservative PAC in New Mexico run by Gov. Martinez’s campaign team, reported spending $1,097,125.01 on campaigning SINCE October 11 alone!
The political committee has emerged as the right’s leading attack dog. Its leadership overlaps with Martinez’s campaign staff. Advance New Mexico Now’s treasurer, Jessica Perez, also served as the fundraising director for Martinez’s re-election campaign in 2014. And the governor’s political consultant, Jay McCleskey, is involved with the group, too, listing its address as his own office. – Santa Fe New Mexican, Nov. 1, 2016
The list of contributors to that PAC are full of oil companies both in name and in the name of some of their owners, including:
Paul Foster (Texas), Chairman of Western Refining: $200,000
Anne Marion (Texas), Chairwoman of Burnett Oil Co., $200,000
Mack Energy (NM), $100,000
Devon Energy (OK), $100,000
and the list goes on and on…
Another PAC, GOAL WEST PAC, was established by Cong. Steve Pearce through a seed donation from his own campaign.
GOAL West is a federal super PAC based in Texas but fueled by oil and gas interests in New Mexico, with GOP Congressman Steve Pearce’s brother serving as its treasurer. – NMID, 9/27/16
There’s a Republican-leaning political action committee that hopes to spend $500,000 on a handful of legislative races this year — mostly in the form of negative ads….
[Oil Co. CEO Mark] Murphy is by far the biggest contributor, giving GOAL-West $80,000, while his company, Strata Production Co., contributed another $40,000.
Other large contributors to the PAC include Carlsbad rancher Nancy Brantley ($45,000); Mack Energy Corp. ($45,000); Cliff Skiles, a veterinarian from Dalhart, Texas ($30,000); and Yates Petroleum of Artesia ($25,400). There are several $25,000 contributors, including Veteto; Winn Investments of Roswell; Corky’s Equipment from Tatum; Noland H. Brunson, Inc. in Hobbs, which specializes in oil pumping equipment; and Dick Saulsbury, founder of an engineering and construction company in Odessa, Texas, that serves oil, gas, mining and other industries.
– Santa Fe New Mexican, Oct. 31, 2016
Here’s another perspective: Yates Petroleum, arguably one of the longest and most established New Mexico oil companies, sold out to a multinational firm in September of this year for $2.5 BILLION with a B!
Yates’ companies have given more than $285,000 to Republican candidates and PACs since 2010.
I guess the question now is will Governor Martinez and other Republican lawmakers in the state push for initiatives that allow families struggling to make a living under her dismal leadership to skip paying their rent? Don’t hold your breath New Mexico.