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Energy group says Biden's oil and gas policies could devastate New Mexico economy

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Elyse Kelly | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – As President -elect Joe Biden prepares to take office, environmental groups are pressuring him to make good on sweeping campaign promises to curb the U.S.’s production of oil.

During his bid for the presidency, Biden curried environmentalists’ favor by promising to ban new oil and gas leases on federal land and potentially ban fracking.

Hundreds of groups from across the nation recently sent a letter to Biden providing sample text for an executive order to stop all leasing and development permits on federal land, including those in process, to oil and coal companies.

In their letter, the groups reminded Biden of his promises.

“Because fossil fuels are responsible for 75 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions and over 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, it is the policy of the Biden administration to immediately cease the expansion of fossil fuel development and implement a managed decline of fossil fuel extraction on public lands and waters,” the groups wrote in their letter.

But such policies would have devastating effects on New Mexico, said Larry Behrens, western states director for Power the Future, an organization that aims to improve the national energy conversation.

The Albuquerque Journal reported the University of Wyoming conducted a study by the Wyoming Energy Authority, and has been since cited by the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA), which produced some startling numbers if Biden follows through.

Over the next 20 years, New Mexico would lose $207.7 billion in GDP. In the next four years, New Mexico would lose 36,217 jobs, $22.1 billion in GDP, $9.8 billion in wages and $6.3 billion in tax revenue.

“Let’s just be honest, he’s only being pushed by radical eco-left groups who have no vested interest in New Mexico, have never even been to New Mexico, and will never look these workers in the eye, and never visit these communities that will be devastated by this action,” Behrens told The Center Square.

Biden has appointed John Kerry and Gina McCarthy to run a White House office for climate action, which Behrens said will be his arm for enacting environmental change that would never make it through Congress.

“More than likely, what will happen is he will use his power of regulation to not issue permits so it just turns into a de-facto ban even though there isn’t really one in the law,” Behrens said. “And that is essentially doing things behind closed doors in a way that Americans can’t scrutinize him.