Democrats in oil producing states do not support drilling bans proposed by Democrat candidates
In the southeast corner of New Mexico, new houses, hotels and jobs are sprouting like flowers in the desert. Trucks hauling equipment and laborers jam once-barren highways on the way to thousands of oil rigs.The people in these states would be foolish to vote for Democrats who push drilling bans. The same is true of Texas. No Texan should even consider voting for people who would destroy the economy. A drilling ban would not only effect energy jobs but would also have a cascading effect on manufacturing, housing, and education.
The Democrats who control the state’s government have lofty plans for the billions of dollars in projected tax revenues from the drilling industry in the Permian Basin, the world’s biggest oil field, starting with an overhaul of New Mexico’s ailing public education system. The biggest threat to those plans, however, may be the presidential candidates from their own party.
The top 10 Democratic contenders have called for ending new drilling leases on federal lands. Two front-runners, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, go much further with calls to ban hydraulic fracturing - the technology driving the Permian oil boom - on both federal and private land.
Such policies face resistance in western states with vibrant drilling industries, including New Mexico and Colorado, where Democrats also control both the governor’s office and the legislature. That could open up a rift within the party and an inroad into such states for Republican President Donald Trump - the nation’s chief fossil-fuel booster - in 2020 election.
“Without the energy effort in this state, no one gets to make education the top priority,” New Mexico Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham told the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association conference in Santa Fe on October 8.
If Trump loses next year’s election, she said in an interview, she would request the Democratic president provide her state a waiver exempting it from any drilling ban “to allow us to continue to produce in New Mexico.”
Nationwide, states received some $9 billion from public lands leases last year, with much of it going to their education systems, according to Department of Interior data. New Mexico was the top recipient with $2.4 billion - an amount that doubled its 2017 revenues. Colorado brought in about $500 million.