New Mexico legislators worry about growing power of oil and gas industry

The police, their political muscle and election campaigns


New Mexico, the state where green-minded leaders castigate the oil and gas industry but love to spend the record revenue it brings, now are reported to worry about how the increased oil production is making the industry more powerful politically.

Oil and gas production not only pushed state revenue to a record $12.7 billion in fiscalyear 2023, but it also amounted to 40% of the state’s yearly revenue.

The Santa Fe New Mexican noted that lawmakers heading into the legislation session fear the ability of the oil and gas industry to flex its political might perhaps against anti-pollution efforts. Ironically, the industry’s money also funds those efforts of the governor and environmental-minded legislators to create anti-oil and gas laws and projects.

Some of the environmentalists are of the mind that while oil companies generate more tax revenue for the state, they also produce more pollution and also build more political pull in the legislature.

“It does put the Legislature and the governor in kind of an awkward position,” said Jim Peach, a New Mexico State University economics professor emeritus told the Santa Fe New Mexican.” “It’s a difficult problem.”