The Biden administration was forced to allow auctions on new oil and gas leases last month after a June federal court decision overturned the White House suspension signed in January.
The scheduled resumption of leases, set for spring next year, is a sigh of relief not only for producers in New Mexico who require new drilling prospects always on the horizon, but for residents who rely on industry revenues for more than a third of the state budget. New Mexico schools, ranked among the lowest in the country, rely on the money most.
Larry Behrens, the New Mexico-based communications director for the energy non-profit Power the Future, celebrated compliance with the court decision as a win for the oil-rich state. One-third of New Mexico’s land is managed by the federal government, requiring White House permission for citizens to harvest their own resources.
“It’s a sad day when it takes a federal judge’s ruling to get the Biden administration to