Select Page

Announcements

Do you need some help?

The quickest way to reach us is to contact us through the contact form on the website.

Address:
310 Old Santa Fe Trail,
Santa Fe NM 87501

Phone:
505-827-5760

Check this page periodically to see any new announcements that the State Land Office wants you to know about!

Office of Renewable Energy Announces Two New Projects

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 11, 2021

Contact:

Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications

505.470.2965

aposs@slo.state.nm.us

Office of Renewable Energy Announces Two New Projects: 480 Acres Leased for Solar and 642 Acres Leased for Wind

New renewable energy projects will bring $5.2 million in new revenue for New Mexico public schools

SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico State Land Office on Friday held auctions for two renewable energy projects. The winning bidders – Wildcat Solar Power Plant, LLC and Boulevard Associates, LLC – will move forward with development of new solar and wind energy projects that combined will bring an estimated $5.2 million in new revenue for the state trust land beneficiary. In both cases, the assigned beneficiary is New Mexico public schools.  

With these new leases, Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard has signed renewable energy leases totaling over $85 million in lifetime project revenue since assuming office in 2019. When new and pending projects are completed, renewable generation on state trust land will total around 920 megawatts (MW). 1 MW of renewable energy can power anywhere from 350 to 1,000 homes.

Wildcat Solar Power Plant

Wildcat Solar Power Plant, LLC, a subsidiary of Solariant Capital, submitted the winning bid today for 480 acres of state trust land in McKinley County. The Wildcat Solar Power Plant will encompass 960 acres of a mix of trust land and private land. PV solar panels will be installed on a single-axis tracker system, enabling the facility to follow the sun east-to-west and increase the overall energy yield.

“In 2020, the State Land Office made enormous strides in increasing our wind energy footprint. Right now, solar is poised to dominate the renewable energy applications that come to fruition within our Office of Renewable Energy,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said. “Over the life of the lease for the Wildcat solar project, we will raise an estimated $4.3 million for New Mexico public schools. Renewable energy revenue is and will continue helping us to diversify our revenue portfolio.”

The Wildcat Solar Power Plant will be supported by on site battery energy storage to dispatch solar power day or night. This will be the second solar project on state trust land to include an energy storage system.

“Solariant Capital is pleased to partner with the Commissioner of Public Lands and the New Mexico State Land Office for development of a 90 MW solar project and support the clean energy goal set by the State. The project also plans to incorporate a 47 MW/188 MWh battery energy storage system to provide a higher level of reliability on New Mexico’s electric grid,” Daniel Kim, Managing Director at Solariant Capital said. “Over the course of its development, construction and operation, the Wildcat Solar project will deliver environmental, social, and economic benefits to residents of McKinley County and across the state, including the use of local labor force for construction of the facility and delivery of cleaner energy with minimal impacts to animal habitats, wetlands and cultural resources.”

Borderlands Wind Project

Boulevard Associates, LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, submitted the winning bid today for 642 acres of state trust land in Catron County. The Borderlands Wind Project will be built south of U.S. Highway 60 near the Arizona-New Mexico border and in total will comprise approximately 17,000 acres of land, mostly public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. When completed, the entire facility will consist of approximately 34 wind turbines – two on the state trust land portion – capable of generating 100 MW annually.

“The two projects auctioned today are just the beginning of what we anticipate will be a record breaking year of positive developments for New Mexico’s clean energy economy. Even though our footprint on the Borderlands facility is small, the impact it will have in helping New Mexico achieve our renewable energy future cannot be understated,” Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard continued. “Over the course of this lease, the Borderlands project will bring in over $900,000 of new revenue through the State Land Office for New Mexico’s public schools.”

The company has also executed an Industrial Revenue Bond with both Catron County and the Quemado School District which they estimate totaling approximately $10 million in community tax investment over the life of the project. Roughly 100 employees will be brought on during the construction phase.

“We are very pleased to continue working with the great state of New Mexico to develop a project that will produce millions in tax and lease revenue, create good-paying jobs to build it, and generate clean, renewable energy for years to come,” said Gabe Henehan, Development Project Director for NextEra Energy Resources.

NextEra Energy Resources, LLC has over $1 billion invested in New Mexico, including four wind projects, four solar projects and a battery energy storage project in the state.


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 hospitals, water and land conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.

State Land Office 2020 Oil and Gas Royalty Audits Recoup $2.3 Million for Land Grant Permanent Fund

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 4, 2021

Contact:

Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications

505.470.2965

aposs@slo.state.nm.us

State Land Office 2020 Oil and Gas Royalty Audits Recoup $2.3 Million for Land Grant Permanent Fund  

SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico State Land Office Royalty Management Division today announced the collection of $2,302,418 from standard audits of royalty collection for calendar year 2020. The 2020 audit collection amount is a 47.5% increase from 2019 and a 120.4% increase from 2018. 

The Royalty Management Division audits approximately 85% of State Land Office royalty revenue every five years. Staff auditors and compliance analysts look for mistakes and errors in reporting from all businesses that lease state trust land and are required to pay royalty on oil or gas extracted on leases. The COVID-19 pandemic required the Division to halt travel plans for field audits at company headquarters. All audits initiated after March 2020 were desk audits.

Revenue collected from business on state trust land that depletes a resource, like oil and gas extraction, development of mineral resources, or land exchanges or sales, is deposited into the Land Grant Permanent Fund, which is then invested by the State Investment Council.

Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard has prioritized the Division’s work, a crucial mechanism of accountability for the Land Grant Permanent Fund that supports New Mexico’s school children by providing the bulk of funding for public schools.

“The audit team within the Royalty Management Division worked diligently on behalf of New Mexico’s public schools, hospitals, and universities to make sure that every single penny owed to them was received this year,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said. “The State Land Office has a constitutional mandate to support these vital institutions, and the last few years we have done that to the tune of more than $2.17 billion in revenue support their operations. We greatly appreciate the cooperation of the industry in our auditing process.”


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 hospitals, water and land conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.

State Land Office 2020 Oil and Gas Lease Sales Bring in Nearly $17 Million, Available Oil and Gas Tracts Diminishing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 21, 2020

Contact:

Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications

505.470.2965

aposs@slo.state.nm.us

State Land Office 2020 Oil and Gas Lease Sales Bring in Nearly $17 Million, Available Oil and Gas Tracts Diminishing

SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico State Land Office held its final oil and gas lease sale of 2020 on Tuesday, December 15. State Land Office lease sales are held on the third Tuesday of every month, with the recent December sale netting $2.36 million for 2,880 acres, an average of $818 per acre.

The State Land Office exists to raise revenue for New Mexico public schools, hospitals, and colleges. Each acre leased for oil and gas exploration has an assigned beneficiary institution, with the payment for lease bonus sales as well as the subsequent royalties on oil and gas production directly benefiting that beneficiary.

2020 lease sales brought in $16,935,098, with a monthly average of $1.4 million per sale. The 2020 lease sale aggregate revenue is down 67.85% when compared to 2019, where totals were $52,681,098, with a monthly average of $4.4 million. Despite the decline in one time lease sale revenue, the amount that the State Land Office generated per acre for 2020 held to one third of the amount of 2019, or $555 per acre in 2020 and $1,434 per acre in 2019.

The decline in lease sales correlates to the diminishing availability of premium tracts of state trust land mineral estate available for leasing, specifically in the Permian Basin.  In general, a lease does not expire as long as it is producing oil and gas so a lease is not able to be “sold” again unless a company fails to develop the lease or it becomes unproductive.  That the dollar amount per acre was able to hold to a third of 2019 amounts is thanks in large part to the Office’s Oil, Gas, and Minerals Division taking action to implement a minimum bid process, which began in May 2019. Prior to this process being implemented, bids were set at a per acre price and did not consider the surrounding area, geology, or existing infrastructure.

MAP: Permian Basin State Trust Land Mineral Estate Available for Lease as of December 2020.

After the December 2020 lease sale, only 9% of state trust land mineral estate in the premium part of the Permian is available to be leased; just 2% in the bustling Delaware Basin and 7% in the Capitan Reef.

“We’re taking a hard look at the data available to us, and what it is telling us is that all or almost all of the premium state trust land oil and gas tracts could be held by a lease within the next few years,” Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard said. “The State Land Office has taken action to assure that we are making as much money for our beneficiaries as possible from the land that we still have available. Those efforts include the implementation of minimum bids for our oil and gas sales, along with our Accountability and Enforcement Program – which is assuring that land we recover for the Trust is cleaner than before.”

In the 2019 Regular Legislative Session, Commissioner Garcia Richard pushed for an increase in the royalty rate, which is held in the statutory lease form for the State Land Office.  The current maximum royalty that the State Land Office is able to collect on the amount of production reported by a company for a lease is 20%, though leases currently in effect range from 12.5% to 20%.  Legislation sponsored by Representative Derrick Lente and Senator Bill O’Neill called for an increase to 25%. Because of the range in existing rates, the average actual royalty rate received on oil and gas production on state trust land is about 15.3%.


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 hospitals, water and land conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.

State Land Office Halting Commercial Sale of Fresh Water for Oil and Gas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 15, 2020

Contact:

Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications

505.470.2965

aposs@slo.state.nm.us

State Land Office Halting Commercial Sale of Fresh Water for Oil and Gas

SANTA FE, NM – In a letter issued today Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard announced plans to halt the practice of commercial sale of fresh water from state trust lands for oil and gas development. This shift in policy will better ensure the long-term stewardship of state trust lands and natural resources.

The Commissioner sent the letter to companies that hold easements that grant access to state trust land to pump fresh water for sale to the oil and gas industry. The letter articulates, “No new easements will be issued for the sale of water for use in oil and gas, and existing easements will be not be renewed once they expire.”

Fresh water is an ever-scarcer resource, and the newly adopted State Land Office policy seeks to encourage the industry to use recycled or produced water instead of fresh water, which can impact already scarce local and municipal fresh water supplies (New Mexico town, oil companies in fight over water use). The new policy does not affect the issuance of fresh water easements for other purposes, such as agricultural or municipal use.

Drilling and completing an oil and gas well, including the process of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” can mostly be accomplished without fresh water.  A relatively small amount of fresh water is required for drilling to avoid contamination of geologic formations where other fresh water exists. Fracking consumes millions of gallons more water than drilling and does not require fresh water.  Any fresh water used for drilling or fracking is permanently disposed of unless it’s recycled within the industry. If existing technologies were used to prioritize recycling, that water would be available for reuse within the oil and gas industry and could drastically reduce the amount of fresh water used in the process.    

To visualize the impact of continuing to allow the use of fresh water for fracking, an August 2019 Houston Chronicle article noted, “In the arid Permian Basin, the nation’s most productive oil field, drilling and fracking operations consume more than 195 million gallons of water per day in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico — enough water to fill nearly 300 Olympic-sized swimming pools.”

Water use data reported by companies to FracFocus indicates that nearly 14.5 billion gallons of water were used for overall production in New Mexico in 2019, with recycled or produced water comprising only a fraction of the total water use. That is equivalent to the amount of water needed for an entire year of domestic and household use for over 278,000 people, or roughly one-eighth of New Mexicans. 

Oil production on state trust land in the Permian Basin is at an all-time high despite disruptions beginning in February 2020 brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and a global price war. A byproduct of that increased oil production is an increase in availability of produced water. A study by Global Water Intelligence estimates that every gallon of oil produced in the Permian Basin yields 4-10 barrels of produced water.

Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard released the following statement regarding the policy change:

“This shift in policy represents the State Land Office doing our small part to help protect and preserve New Mexico’s scarce and sacred fresh water resources. Water is life, and wider intervention is needed from the State Legislature to address New Mexico’s water issues in critical areas. Rather than looking at fresh water as a commodity for sale to the highest bidder, we should look at the advancements in water recycling and produced water as our way forward. There is simply no reason for fresh water to be used for fracking. Fresh water is necessary to grow food. It is not necessary for oil and gas production, except when drilling through fresh water areas.  

“The importance of conserving scarce fresh water so that it is available for the uses that require it, while discouraging the use of fresh water for purposes that do not require it, is the message we are trying to send in this policy. It is important to also emphasize the outsize impact that fresh water use for oil and gas can have on our small communities, like those in proximity to the Permian Basin, who are fighting industry for access to fresh water.

“After the wells run dry, which is an increasing threat as we battle climate change, there is no economical process in which we can manufacture fresh water or water that is safe to drink or use to grow our food. If we are reliant on an economy based on getting oil out of the ground, we should be prioritizing the use of recycled or produced water to do so. Our future generations are counting on us to smart make decisions that will profoundly affect their quality of life.”


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 hospitals, water and land conservation projects, and public building construction and repair.

January 6, 2021 Kit Canyon Climbing Area Virtual Public Meeting

KIT CANYON CLIMBING PROJECT FEEDBACK FORM FOR ROY RESIDENTS

Interested members of the public are invited to attend a virtual public meeting on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, to learn more about a joint project between the State Land Office, the New Mexico Climbers Resource Advocacy Group (NMCRAG), and the NM Dept. of Transportation to facilitate responsible use of the popular Kit Canyon climbing area located near Roy, New Mexico.

Specifically, this partnership will help to develop and maintain Kit Canyon, an amazing recreational area about 10 minutes west of Roy on NM-120.  These efforts are intended to create an asset for the region and a truly top-notch bouldering experience.  Similar to nearby Mills Canyon, recreational use of the Kit Canyon area will increase local economic activity and visitation.  The partnership with NMCRAG allows for trail improvements, signage and maintenance.  As part of this project, an agreement with NM Department of Transportation provides for the safe development and maintenance of a designated parking area.  The public meeting is being held to provide additional details and an opportunity to hear from local residents and stakeholders such as yourself.  Please join us as we are excited to share this news with you.  If you are unable to participate in the public meeting, please don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email

PUBLIC MEETING INFORMATION

WHEN: Wednesday, January 6, 2021 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM

WHERE: VIRTUAL on Zoom Webinar.

Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://zoom.us/j/99448887651?pwd=cE81VFlnaHFiWVZsVlp0KzIvejZKZz09
Passcode: Roy
Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +12532158782,,99448887651#,,,,,,0#,,040828# or +13462487799,,99448887651#,,,,,,0#,,040828#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 9128 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 558 8656
Webinar ID: 994 4888 7651
Passcode: 040828

IF you cannot attend the public meeting but would like more information, please email State Land Office Outdoor Recreation Program Manager Craig Johnson at cjohnson@slo.state.nm.us

State Land Office Releases Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 1, 2020

Contact:

Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications

505.470.2965

aposs@slo.state.nm.us

State Land Office Releases Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Report

SANTA FE, NM – The State Land Office today released its Annual Report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. New Mexico state agencies are required, by December 1st of each calendar year, to report to the Governor on activities and accomplishments of the previous year. For the second FY in a row, the State Land Office has generated record revenue exceeding $1 billion.

Read the Report: New Mexico State Land Office FY 2020 Annual Report

The FY 2020 report from the State Land Office to the Governor outlines total revenue raised, earnings for each of the 22 Trust beneficiaries, changes implemented due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and public health orders, priorities accomplished and ongoing, as well as a detailed overview of highlights from each of the State Land Office’s leasing and operational divisions.

Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard released the following statement regarding the FY 2020 Annual Report:

“The State Land Office has a duel mandate – to raise revenue for New Mexico public schools, hospitals, and universities, while also working to protect and steward the nine million surface and 13 million mineral acres in our care for future generations. Our employees take extreme pride in that mission, and the information within this report reflects that pride.

“In addition to detailing the amount of revenue raised from land leasing activities, this report outlines our efforts to implement a culture shift in the legacy of the State Land Office. While a large portion of our revenue comes from and will continue to come from oil and gas, we are taking targeted measures to ensure accountability exists within that industry. That culture shift also reflects the enormous strides taken to reach the goal of diversifying our revenue streams by tripling the amount of clean, renewable energy generated on state trust land – and I’m pleased to say we are on track to exceed that goal in FY 2021.

“Finally, this report paints a huge picture for the reader of all of the effort that goes into running New Mexico’s only state agency that operates as an enterprise on behalf of the working families of the state. The efforts laid out page by page tell the story of how we are able to save New Mexico taxpaying households an average of $1,500 annually that would otherwise be required in order to fund our vital public institutions.”

New Mexico State Land Office FY 2020 Annual Report

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.

Join the mailing list

Sign up for updates