Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

NM must commit to American energy independence

Rep. Greg Nibert

The mainstream media is engaging in a campaign to blame rising gasoline prices exclusively on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, rather than include the Biden administration’s disastrous monetary and domestic energy policies.

Gas prices are complex. Oil prices are complex. Both commodities compete on a global scale. Russia has been funding environmental and anti-fracking groups for years, hampering America’s ability to extract and use fossil fuels. The Trump administration’s policies encouraged American energy production, and the oil and gas industry responded. For the first time in decades, American oil and gas were allowed to be exported. We have been blessed with abundant and affordable energy, but it is not just by blind luck. We in Southeastern New Mexico know it is hard work and requires many talented individuals to find the reservoirs, develop and utilize technology to drill and complete wells to extract the oil and gas from rocks lying a mile or two below the surface, drill horizontal distances additional one to two miles and, now, beyond that, and then to transport production to locations where it can be refined into products useful to us.

President Biden halted construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. He suspended new federal oil and gas leases. In late 2021, the president reversed yet another Trump policy when he lifted sanctions on the Nordstream 2 pipeline. This move keeps Europe dependent on Russian oil and gas, rather than buying American energy. Even as Russian troops gathered along the Ukrainian border …, President Biden withdrew US support for the proposed Israeli EastMed Gas pipeline. That pipeline would give our European allies an alternative to Russian gas. And Democrats accuse Trump of being a Russian asset.

The media continues to churn out reports that do not portray the facts. Trying to persuade you that your patriotic duty is to pay $5 a gallon or more for gasoline is what we see in the news. Now, our governor is calling us into session so New Mexico can give tax breaks or checks to people who meet certain income criteria because they are paying too much for fuel. I may be willing to support a reduction in the gasoline tax, but that does not appear to be the governor’s proposal.

We must remain committed to American energy independence. Independence provides national security and allows us to continue to have affordable energy. The Biden administration has no intention of easing the financial strain it placed on the American people. Next, his administration will push even harder for “clean energy,” despite its inability to adequately power the grid. We have already seen this effort in Santa Fe with the Energy Transition Act that will prohibit the use of fossil fuels for the generation of electricity after 2045. Most, if not all, New Mexicans have already seen higher electricity prices as a result of this policy .

If there is gas rationing and rolling blackouts, the cries for greater government control will be deafening both in Washington and Santa Fe. Greater government control will only exacerbate the energy problem, not solve it. New Mexico needs robust federal oil and gas leasing, prompt federal permitting of both oil and gas wells, rights of way for roads and pipelines, and enhanced capacity to refine petroleum into fuels, plastics and other feed stocks for the multitude of products.

We need to embrace technology that will allow the generation of electricity from natural gas and coal, with the carbon dioxide being sequestered in geologic formations, and from nuclear that has no carbon emissions. That will only occur if the public policy in New Mexico is changed. Unfortunately, it may take the blackouts and rationing to bring about such change.

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