November 18, 2020
Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications
State Land Office Press Conference: Oil and Gas Lease Accountability and Enforcement Program
Program meant to encourage accountability and stewardship of state trust land, #DontTrashTheTrust
SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico State Land Office has launched an historic, agency-wide programmatic approach to accountability and enforcement with regard to oil and gas operations on state trust land to ensure lease holders honor their contractual promise to operate and close out responsibly. Oil and gas leases on state trust land are set by state statute and require compliance with State Land Office rules, including remediating spills and restoring the land to its original condition once a lease has expired (188.8.131.52 – 67 of the New Mexico Administrative Code).
The leases under enhanced review are those which pose an immediate environmental threat to the long-term health of state trust land—state land held in trust for New Mexico’s public schools, hospitals, and universities. The specific accountability measures under scrutiny by the Accountability and Enforcement Program, led by the State Land Office Legal Division, include:
- Spill clean-up of oil, gas, produced water, and other extraction by-products
- Surface reclamation, specifically of site infrastructure including wells, pads, pits, tanks, pipelines, and roads
- Recovering royalty payments for oil and gas production in trespass
The Program is also auditing business leases, salt water disposal leases, and other non-oil and gas related leases for compliance. Work on these efforts has been underway since early 2020, and the successes to-date represent only the tip of the iceberg expected to come of the Accountability and Enforcement Program.
Press Conference Details
Who: The New Mexico State Land Office, Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, General Counsel Ari Biernoff
What: Accountability and Enforcement Program Overview and Successes
When: Thursday, November 19th, 2020
11:00 am – 12:00 pm (MST)
Under the leadership of Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard, the New Mexico State Land Office has seen back-to-back years of revenue over $1 billion. Over 13 million acres of state trust land are leased for a variety of uses, including ranching and farming, renewable energy, business development, mineral development, and outdoor recreation. The money earned from leasing activity supports 22 beneficiaries – New Mexico public schools, seven universities and colleges, the School for the Deaf, the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, three hospital, water and land conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.