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ProgressNow New Mexico Education Fund Calls for Oil and Gas Leasing Reform in New Mexico Following New Report from Department of the Interior

New Mexicans call for reforms to the federal oil and gas leasing program to protect communities and treasured lands.

Albuquerque – Today, ProgressNow New Mexico Education Fund released a new ad highlighting the need for reform in the federal oil and gas leasing program. This ad comes shortly after the Department of the Interior (DOI) released a new report identifying significant deficiencies in federal oil and gas leasing and permitting practices. These deficiencies have cost taxpayers a fair return on investment and encouraged speculative activity while oil and gas executives profited at the expense of the public’s interest.

The report follows years of outcry from New Mexican communities and concludes that reforms are necessary to strengthen the rules for oil and gas leasing on federal lands, many of which have not been substantially updated in over a century. This outdated system for federal leasing and permitting does not work for New Mexico — it has denied New Mexicans a fair return, encouraged speculative leasing, threatened our treasured lands, and has far too often left us to clean up the mess when oil and gas executives skip out on their responsibility to be good stewards of public resources and lands.

The DOI report recommends updating royalty and bonding rates; modernizing processes to limit harmful speculation; ensuring that communities as well as tribal, state, and local governments are included in decision-making; and curtailing practices that harm access to lands for recreation and conservation, or which harm historical and cultural resources.

“Oil and gas companies love to talk about how much revenue they ‘give’ our state, but we all know it’s pennies on the dollar compared to what the executives in Houston and Wall Street are making off our resources and our labor, let alone the exploitation of land, water, and air” said Lucas Herndon, Energy and Policy Director for ProgressNow New Mexico Education Fund. “These century-old rules are simply out of date and out of touch with our New Mexican values.”

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