March 20, 2021
For Immediate Release
Contact: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, 505-361-1288
OR: Marie-Pier Frigon, Communications Associate, 505-361-1288
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, issued the following statement regarding the report released today from the Center for Applied Research:
“The report released today demonstrates how inadequate bonding levels are for oil and natural gas extraction on state and private fee lands. We are grateful to Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard and the State Land Office for their commitment to our state lands and meaningful bonding reform. It’s distressing that New Mexico taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $8 billion – more than our entire annual state budget – in clean-up costs for the tens of thousands of wells and miles of pipeline that would be abandoned should the companies operating them go bankrupt. And this doesn’t even account for the nearly 32,000 wells and associated pipelines on New Mexico’s federal public lands.
“New Mexico already has more than 700 abandoned wells that need to be plugged and the land restored at a cost of millions. Meanwhile, these orphaned wells are likely polluting our air, land, and water. Another 529 wells are at risk of becoming orphaned just on New Mexico’s federal public lands alone. This will leave our children with a terrible legacy of environmental degradation, the health problems created by pollution, and the extraordinary cost to clean it all up. That’s not the kind of future we should be preparing to leave New Mexico’s children.
“We recommend state lawmakers act quickly to increase the bonding rates for oil and gas extraction on state and private fee lands to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for its own messes.”
The report can be downloaded here: http://www.nmstatelands.org/bonding/