From a young age, we teach our children the importance of taking responsibility for their actions and cleaning up after themselves when they make a mess. We should expect the same from the oil and gas industry working in New Mexico. But for far too long, antiquated policies under the current leasing system have left our families on the hook to pay to clean up messes left behind by bankrupt oil and gas companies – messes involving orphaned wells with decaying and leaking infrastructure that can pollute our air and water. This has robbed our communities of tax dollars that could have been put to use improving our children’s classrooms and our hospitals and roadways.
Even when we’re grateful for something – for example, the jobs and state revenue we get from oil and gas production – that doesn’t mean we should cut ourselves short and ignore our own needs. We deserve to get the best deal we can. But when it comes to oil and natural gas, we’ve settled for a bad deal for a very long time. While families in New Mexico face rising gasoline prices at the pump, oil and natural gas companies are getting the deal of a century. Not only are they cashing in on higher prices, but they pay pennies on the dollar to lease our public lands for development and evade having to pay New Mexicans what we’re rightfully owed in royalties.