New Mexico Wild has issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s decision to cancel oil and gas lease sales for the 2nd quarter of Fiscal Year 2021.
“Any talk that cancelling these lease sales is going to devastate the industry further is more smoke and mirrors. The Trump administration sold out New Mexico taxpayers by leasing as much land as it could, often below market value, before voters chose a different path,” said Mark Allison, New Mexico Wild Executive Director. “The low acreage in these sales also reflect the nose-dive in demand for new oil and gas leases on public land in New Mexico, which by the way, belongs to the public, and not the industry. The Biden administration is right to pause and review these sales to ensure they don’t end up shortchanging New Mexicans in the future.”
A report issued by Colorado-based nonprofit Rocky Mountain Wild in February found that oil and gas companies currently hold leases on more than 20 million acres of federal land in Mountain West states, including on more than 4.2 million acres in New Mexico alone.
The key findings in the report relevant to current oil and gas leases in New Mexico include:
• Almost 4.3 million acres are currently leased with almost 1.6 million acres on lands with the highest potential for oil and gas development.
• Over 1.1 million acres leased are not developed.
• In 2019 over 58,000 acres of leases were sold and in 2020 over 70,000 acres were sold. In 2021 less than 6,700 acres have been proposed to be sold.