Within his first week in office, Biden signed an executive order to temporarily suspend new oil and gas leases on public lands and offshore waters for drilling and fracking for 60 days.
“I’m clearly concerned that right out of the gate with very little guidance, we have an announcement to stall … a moratorium on lease applications, and the reality is: a lot of oil and gas … in the Permian [Basin] is on private land in Texas,” she said during a Wednesday event with the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce.
The Delaware Basin is one component of the Permian Basin — the largest oil basin in the U.S. — located partially in the southeastern area of New Mexico.
More than 60% of New Mexico’s oil and gas production is on federal land while 55% of state wells are located on federal land, according to the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD).
More than 50 gas companies produce more than a million barrels per day from the Delaware, supporting about 18,000 jobs and helping to produce millions in tax revenue for the state, Forbes reported in January. The New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee confirmed to Fox News that 18,000 is a “fair estimate.”
Twenty-four wells located in the Delaware, about half of which is federal land, produced more than 500,000 barrels of gas in 2020, Forbes reported.
Grisham continued: “So, wherever you are — wherever you are in the country or on the chamber, however you feel about that — you can simply just move, and that just hurts New Mexico, and there are no environmental standards there.”
She added that her administration has “initiated both conversations and a pretty strongly worded letter that this doesn’t make any sense.”
“The last issue is: It’s an economic problem for the state, but rather, it’s also a message to states to not do anything and wait for you to do it, and you’re not going to get as far as fast. If you’re looking for innovation [in] environmental policy, you’re going to stall that,” the governor said.
Biden’s moratorium is an effort to combat climate change in the U.S. The White House did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News.