Joe Biden Places Two-Month Moratorium on New Oil Leases and Drilling Permits in New Mexico, A State He Won in November

President Joe Biden has placed a 60-day moratorium on new oil and natural gas leases and drilling permits in New Mexico, an action that’s a major cause for concern, according to the Associated Press.

New Mexico’s Permian Basin is often considered one of the best regions in the United States for the production of oil and natural gas. Local leaders in towns near the basin have expressed worry over Biden’s two-month moratorium on leases and permits, arguing that a permanent suspension would spell disaster for the New Mexican economy.

“During his inauguration, President Biden spoke about bringing our nation together. Eliminating drilling on public lands will cost thousands of New Mexicans their jobs and destroy what’s left of our state’s economy,” said Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway. “How does that bring us together? Environmental efforts should be fair and well-researched, not knee-jerk mandates that just hurt an already impoverished state.”

It is also worth noting that Biden won the state of New Mexico in the 2020 election. He obtained 54.3 percent of the vote to former president Donald Trump’s 43.5 percent. Biden performed best in cities and the north and west, while Trump’s victories came in less populated areas and the southeast, the latter of which is home to the Permian Basin.

New Mexico ranks toward the bottom of all states in per capita income, rendering them one of the poorest in the US. The oil and gas and service industries comprise a significant chunk of their economy; hence one can imagine that they’ve suffered somewhat acutely as a result of the pandemic and the subsequent fall in oil prices.

Biden’s actions against the oil and gas industry will be something to keep paying attention to going forward.