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New Mexico's Oil and Gas Boom in the Permian Basin Undermines the State's Climate Target

Press Contact: 


Lorne Stockman

Oil Change International

(540) 679-1097


Additional Comments: 


Bianca Sopoci-Belknap

(505) 699-1025

WildEarth Guardians

Rebecca Sobel

(267) 402-0724

New Energy Economy

Mariel Nanasi

(505) 469-4060




February 13, 2020


Oil Change International report: Drilling Toward Disaster: New Mexico’s Oil & Gas Boom Undermines the State’s Climate Goals


SANTA FE, NM — A new report released today by Oil Change International and partners finds that New Mexico’s projected oil and gas production is entirely out of sync with the action necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change. The report analyzes the full climate impact of New Mexico’s oil and gas extraction, and finds that the state’s goals of reducing emissions will be completely undermined by continued expansion of oil and gas.


The report, entitled Drilling Toward Disaster: New Mexico’s Oil & Gas Boom Undermines the State’s Climate Goals, finds that New Mexico’s oil and gas production has grown 125% since 2010 and is poised for continued expansion. Unless this course is corrected, the volume of oil and gas extracted in New Mexico will increase more than 85% by 2030, and projected emissions from burning the oil and gas from new wells could amount to ten times Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s stated climate goals.


Local organizers point to the report as affirmation of the climate burden of New Mexico’s oil and gas boom, and the urgent need for lawmakers and the Governor to take bold action. As the 2020 legislature draws to a close, there has yet to be a single bill that addresses the cumulative impact of New Mexico’s oil and gas extraction. Meanwhile, legislators and the Governor are working to finalize the state’s budget with a surplus directly tied to extractive industry.


This research illuminates a path to avoid the worst of New Mexico’s potential carbon emissions, as over 70% of new extraction will come from wells that have not yet been drilled, known as ‘undeveloped’ oil and gas. In 2030, 86% of projected emissions associated with New Mexico’s oil and gas activity will come from burning currently undeveloped oil and gas. If these reserves are extracted and burnt, it would be the equivalent of adding the annual emissions of 123 new coal-fired power plants, making New Mexico principally responsible for a climate bombshell.






Lorne Stockman, Senior Research Analyst, Oil Change International and principal author of the report, states: “The data show that the climate emissions from burning New Mexico's oil and gas far outweigh anything that can be achieved by the current climate action plan. New Mexico must take responsibility for the surging oil and gas production within its borders; doing so will not only put New Mexico in a climate leadership position, but also help protect the state's economy from this risky oil boom. This is a conversation that can no longer be ignored.”


Seneca Johnson, Spokesperson, YUCCA (Youth United for Climate Crisis Action), states: 

“This report affirms what we young people have known and have been saying for the last year — that we are facing a climate emergency and we need immediate action to turn the tide and protect our futures. We are calling on our elected officials to heed the warnings within this report — the current Climate Plan is wholly inadequate and completely fails to address the ticking time bomb in the room — the Permian oil and gas boom. We demand the declaration of a climate emergency, we demand a just transition study and fund to transition our economy from dependence on oil and gas revenue, we demand a fracking moratorium on all new drilling, and we demand the passage of bold community-driven policy solutions like the Community Solar Act. We need our political leaders to face our climate crisis with courage and resolve and to stand up for our futures."


Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director, New Energy Economy, states: “Climate leadership requires stopping new fossil fuel exploration and extraction and planning for a just, equitable, and managed fossil fuel phase-out. Yet the Lujan Grisham Administration and Legislature are still acting at cross-purposes to this scientific necessity for survival. We just can’t continue the frenzied fracking even if we like the money; we can no longer ignore New Mexico’s contribution to exported emissions which are holy at odds with the Governor’s climate targets to keep us climate safe. No legislation has been introduced to restrain, regulate, monitor, or control this runaway corporate exploitation. Communities plagued by fracking are already experiencing well documented and severe environmental and health impacts. These harms fall disproportionately on frontline communities that are more likely to be rural, lower income and/or communities of color. Only a dramatic economic reorientation to 100% renewable energy can stave off climate catastrophe. Will it be easy? No. This is a matter of moral and political courage.”


Rebecca Sobel, Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner, WildEarth Guardians, states: “The Administration has grossly misrepresented New Mexico’s climate impacts by failing to analyze the burning of New Mexico’s fossil fuels.  Unless the state reins in unchecked fracking, Governor Lujan-Grisham will be unable to meet her climate goals and New Mexico will be culpable for a climate catastrophe.” 



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