We’d like to change things up a bit every now and then and offer some fresh perspectives.
Congresswoman Yvette Herrell from New Mexico takes The Starting Line reins today to give us her view on something that matters to her community:
As a new Member, I’m often asked to share an interesting fact about my district. My go-to is that the Second District of New Mexico is the largest district in the country that isn’t an individual state. And in the West, a district so vast comes with something else: a whole lot of federal land. Nearly one third of the land in New Mexico is owned and managed by the federal government.
Those public lands are the lifeblood of our state’s economy. They offer recreation and tourism opportunities. They allow grazing areas for cattle and livestock. But more than anything else – the rich energy resources those lands hold provide the jobs and revenue New Mexico depends on. More than a third of our state’s general fund – including more than $1 billion a year for our public-school systems – depends on the royalty payments and taxes on the oil and gas industry that works those federal lands.
In the southeastern corner of my district, well-paid men and women support their families and ensure the future of their communities by tapping into the Permian Basin for oil and natural gas. The people working to extract those resources earn an average of $48 an hour. But with the stroke of a pen, the Biden administration told them there’s no future in those jobs. There will be no new leases. No new development on the land they work. Instead, as the climate czar says, they should make a “better choice” and go earn $10 an hour less in wind electricity generation or less than half as much installing solar panels.
But denying men and women the right to work where they live gives them no choice at all.
I traveled hundreds of miles across my district just last week alone. I visited the oil communities Biden’s policies threaten to devastate. I passed through counties with wind farms and by homes and businesses with solar panels on their roofs. I see the vast potential in New Mexico every week. Take it from me: there’s room for all the above in our country’s energy mix.