By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press
Local officials and residents in New Mexico’s oil patches are anxious as the Biden administration takes aim at the oil and natural gas industry with a series of new executive orders.
The Biden administration last week suspended for 60 days the regulatory authority of federal land managers in field offices across the country, meaning any decisions regarding leasing, permitting or other reviews and approvals have to be funneled to top officials with the U.S. Interior Department.
Virginia Necochea, executive director of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, said the moratorium will force decision-makers in New Mexico and elsewhere to act more quickly on climate change and environmental justice issues. “This is our opportunity to end the practice of ‘profits over people.’ Now is not the time to exempt oil and gas operators from this critically necessary moratorium.”