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SANTA FE, N.M. – Legislation to increase the top royalty rate charged for oil and gas development on state lands from 20% to the market rate of 25% passed the House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Committee, New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard announced today. House Bill 48 (also filed as Senate Bill 24), which is sponsored by Rep. Matthew McQueen and Sen. Bill Tallman, would bring New Mexico’s royalty rate in line with what is charged in Texas and would generate millions more in revenue each year for New Mexico’s public schools and other institutions.

“House Bill 48 passing its first committee is a huge first step. We should capitalize on the current oil and gas boom by raising what we charge to oil and gas companies to use land that belongs to New Mexicans. The result would be huge amounts of new money for our school kids,” said Commissioner Garcia Richard. “Our job is to earn as much revenue as we can for New Mexico’s public institutions. It makes no sense to charge a below market rate for developing our most valuable natural resources. As a former public school teacher myself, I understand how tight the budgets can get for our school districts. We need to pass an increased royalty rate now and set up our schools for long-term success. I’m grateful to the leadership of Rep. McQueen and Sen. Tallman, and look forward to this bill making it across the finish line this session.”

“Raising the royalty rate should be a no-brainer. We are simply asking companies to pay the same rate they pay to lease land from private landowners and neighboring states like Texas,” said Rep. McQueen. “New Mexico is fortunate to have some of the best natural resources in the country, and we shouldn’t be content to give them away on the cheap, especially when the future of New Mexico’s kids is at stake. I urge all of my fellow legislators to do the right thing by our young people and pass this bill.” 

“Raising New Mexico’s royalty rate is long overdue,” said Sen. Tallman. “New Mexico has been getting far too little in return for the activities of oil and gas companies on our lands. Passing this legislation is a commonsense way for us to maximize the state’s earning potential and benefit countless New Mexicans in the long run. It’s legislation we should all be getting behind.”

The last time the royalty rate was updated by the Legislature was in the 1970s, well before the full economic potential of New Mexico’s oil and gas regions were fully understood. The legislation would only apply to new leases on the most productive oil and gas parcels on state lands.

HB48 now heads to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.

Track House Bill 48 here.


Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard has overseen the New Mexico State Land Office since 2019. In that time the agency has raised more than $8 billion for New Mexico public schools, hospitals, and universities. 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 State Land Office has a dual mandate to use state trust land to financially support vital public institutions, while simultaneously working to protect the land for future generations.