Oil production in New Mexico’s Permian Basin has increased nearly ten-fold since 2010, leading to a surge of devastating air, water, and climate pollution. Recently, fossil fuel companies have been investing more heavily in our Permian Basin because fuel demand surged with OPEC policies, and the Russian war in Ukraine. Fossil fuel producers saw an opportunity to increase production. Now, analysts have predicted the region’s fossil fuel production would continue to grow faster than some of the biggest-producing countries in the world.

New Mexico has more than 62,000 oil and gas facilities. It’s easy to see that The state produces about seven times more natural gas than it consumes with most of it being used for electric power generation while the rest is being exported to Arizona and Texas., In 2022, New Mexico’s annual crude oil production reached an all-time high of about 574 million barrels, almost 9 times greater than it was in 2010.  New Mexico’s crude oil refinery can process about 110,000 barrels of crude oil per calendar day. Most of it comes from the Permian Basin and serves markets in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

New Mexico is a state with a little over 2.1 million people. Clearly its fossil fuel resources are mainly being used to make money for the industry while fueling the climate emergency and hurting health outcomes.

The 2022 congressional committee report found oil and gas companies were likely under-reporting their emissions of methane air pollution to the federal government. The report estimated that about 12% of emissions sources in the Permian were responsible for half of the region’s releases. Currently, analysis estimates that New Mexico’s oil and gas companies emit over 1.1 million metric tons of methane annually, which has the same short-term climate impact of 28 million automobiles. That’s approximately 5 times more pollution than EPA data suggest and has the same near-term climate impact as 25 coal-fired power plants. 

The Oil and Gas Threat Map shows over 144,000 people in New Mexico live within a half-mile of an oil and gas facility, including 20% of the state’s Indigenous residents. This threat radius is correlated with adverse health outcomes, including cancer, respiratory illness, fetal defects, blood disorders, and neurological problems stemming from chemicals associated with oil and gas production.

Pollutants from oil and gas facilities in New Mexico include the carcinogen benzene, hydrogen sulfide, and volatile organic compounds that can contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone (smog), according to the EPA. Air pollution from fossil fuels is responsible for more than 13% of deaths in people aged 14 and older in the United States. Black, Brown, Indigenous and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted since these groups, due to systemic racism, tend to live in neighborhoods with more pollution. Oil and gas extraction has pushed air pollution levels so high in southeast New Mexico that the Permian Basin region is now violating federal smog standards.

Oil and gas extraction has pushed air pollution levels so high in southeast New Mexico that the Permian Basin region is now violating federal smog standards.

Oil and gas operators spill toxic liquid waste an average of four times per day in New Mexico, endangering land, air, water and public health. Too often, these toxic spills affect streams, groundwater, and public lands.

As New Mexico faces increasing aridification from the climate crisis, oil companies use vast quantities of New Mexico’s dwindling freshwater resources for fracking. The oil and gas industry turns 14 billion gallons of water into toxic waste every year to drill, frack, and produce wells. This is equal to the amount of water used by 1/8 of New Mexico’s population. The state can’t afford this precious resource to be allocated for fossil fuel profits while the industry has put $10 billion in clean-up costs on the shoulders of New Mexico taxpayers.

New Mexico’s economy could run on clean renewable energy instead of being beholden to oil and gas companies. People are often told that the oil and gas industry is the key to New Mexico’s economic prosperity. If that were true New Mexico wouldn’t rank 50th in education, 49th in terms of citizens to succeed and have the 44th worst economy out of all states. Our infrastructure is the 5th worst in the U.S. and for a third year in a row we posted the third-highest poverty rate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If these social statistics weren’t bad enough the 2022 KIDS COUNT Date Book ranked N.M. last in child well-being.  

Additionally, the climate crisis is increasing costs to every New Mexican. Farmers in New Mexico already pay $73 million annually because of climate crisis warming temperatures and extreme weather. New Mexicans pay $248 million more in energy bills every year to keep cool. Estimates indicate the state pays $1.6 billion every year because of the changing climate.

The fossil fuel industry has had a disproportionate economic negative impact on New Mexico.

Utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) facilities provided only around 5% of New Mexico’s total in-state net generation in 2022. Yet, according to the Office of Renewable energy: “The New Mexico State Land Office has about nine million acres of land available for lease to renewable energy companies and has a sustained track record of partnering with companies to create successful projects. Renewable energy leasing is expected to be the largest growth area for commercial leasing, providing a tremendous opportunity to earn more money for State Trust Land beneficiaries – which include public schools, universities, and hospitals throughout the state – while creating jobs, advancing clean energy, saving taxpayer money, and caring for the land.” 

New Mexico leadership council

Debbie Sariñana

State Rep., Veteran

Debbie currently represents District 21 and serves as Vice-Chair of House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Committee, is a member of the House Appropriation and Finance Committee and is Chairwomen of Science & Technology Interim Committee. She also serves on the Water & Natural Resources Committee and the Radio Active & Hazardous Materials Committee. A former computer programmer at White Sands Missile Range, NM, and member of the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Debbie is currently a retired high school math teacher.

Abbas Akhil

Fmr. State Rep.

District: 20
County: Bernalillo.Abbas Akhil is an Indian-American politician and engineer who served as a member of the New Mexico House of Representatives from 2019 to 2021. When he took office on January 15, 2019, Akhil became the first Muslim member. Born in India, Akhil earned a BA there and a Masters in N.M.  Prior to entering politics, Akhil worked as an engineer at Sandia National Laboratories

Anthony Allison

State Representative

District: 4 County: San Juan. Allison is a member of the Navajo Nation. He serves as Vice Chair on the House Agriculture, Acequias and Water Resources Committee. Other committees include: House Appropriations and Finance, Joint Indian Affairs Committee, as Advisory on the Joint Economic and Rural Development and Policy Committee, and Standing Advisory on the Legislative Finance Committee. Allison worked as a journeyman electrician. He also founded Navajo Voters Coalition, an organization specializing in the expansion of voting rights in his district.

Tammy Fiebelkorn

City Councilor

City Councilor Tammy  represents District 7, Albuquerque’s mid-heights including uptown and parts of the near northeast heights. She has an extensive history in energy efficiency, having worked deeply on energy efficiency program design and evaluation. She has worked with the City  on numerous projects including funding and implementing low-income energy efficiency retrofits in disadvantaged neighborhoods, updating the city’s Energy Conservation Code, and developing coordinated positions on energy and transportation cases at the NM Public Regulation Commission. 

Mimi Stewart

State Senator

President Pro Tem  When elected. Stewart became the first president pro tem from Albuquerque in 15 years. The pro tem presides over the Senate in some circumstances and serves as leader of the Committees’ Committee – a panel that chooses the chairpersons of the Senate’s standing committees and their membership. It’s an important role because the committee chairpersons have substantial influence over the flow of legislation, such as what gets heard and when.  She also serves on the Water & Natural Resources committee, Rules and others. Mimi is a retired teacher from Albuquerque.

Harold Pope

State Senator, Veteran

District: 23, Santa Fe, County: Bernalillo. He is the Sen. Education Vice Chair, and is a Member of the Sen. Conservation Committee. He also serves interim as Vice Chair on the Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, along with other committees. During his 20-year career in the Air Force he served as an Acquisitions Officer and Chemist, working on satellite programs, weapon systems, and nuclear deterrence, and as a Security Cooperation Officer. He was appointed Facilities Transition Advisor, with Mayor Keller’s Administration for the City of Albuquerque. Currently Harold works as a substitute teacher for Albuquerque Public Schools.

Carrie Hamblen

State Senator

District: 38, County:Doña Ana. Carrie serves on the Conservation Committee and was a former broadcast journalist. In 2012, Carrie became the CEO/President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, an organization which focuses on creating support for local businesses and creating more awareness about sustainable communities. Carrie serves as the liaison between the Green Chamber and private, nonprofit, and governmental entities. Carrie is currently President of the Board of Directors for the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope Carrie holds two Masters Degrees. 

Andrea Romero

State Representative

District: 46
County: Santa Fe. Andrea is a lawyer, and entrepreneur who supports small businesses. As a Rep. she serves Española and Pojoaque Valleys, northwest Santa Fe, and four sovereign Pueblos: Nambe, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, and Tesuque. She’s working to increase job training and apprenticeships, create wind and solar jobs and expand broadband. She’s a defender of our water resourses, the environment and underserved populations. She sponsored the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women bill that developed a task force in 2019.

Stephanie Garcia Richard

Land Commissioner

The first woman, the first Latina, and the first educator to serve in the position as New Mexico’s Commissioner of Public Lands. Stephanie became a State Rep. in 2012. During her six years as a State Rep. she championed laws to increase access to a quality education, transparency, and investments in renewable energy, job training, and economic development. She served as Chair of the House Education Committee for two years. As  Commissioner, Stephanie is focused on raising as much money as possible while always keeping an eye toward stewardship and preserving the land for generations to come.

Office of State and Community Energy Programs (SCEP)

The Office of State and Community Energy Programs (SCEP) works with state and local organizations to significantly accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies, catalyze local economic development and create jobs, reduce energy costs, and avoid pollution through place-based strategies involving a wide range of government, community, business and other stakeholders. 

Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)

The OSDBU goal is to provide maximum practicable opportunities in the Departments’ acquisitions to all small business concerns. In doing so, the Department will meet/exceed statutory prime small and subcontracting goals.  Our Small Business Goaling Reports are tracked and monitored via http://smallbusiness.data.gov/, an official web site of the federal government.  

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