Biden drilling ban forces Democratic-led New Mexico to reckon with oil dependence



Nichola Groom | Valerie Volcovici | Jennifer Hiller | Reuters

(Reuters) – When Stan Rounds heard about U.S. President Joe Biden’s plans to suspend new drilling on federal lands to fight climate change, he worried about the education budget.

Rounds heads a state association of school administrators. He knows that New Mexico – home to the country’s richest oil fields on federal lands – depends heavily on drilling revenues to finance its struggling public schools. And budgets have already taken a hit from falling crude prices as the coronavirus pandemic sapped global fuel demand.

“While you appreciate the green policies for environmental issues, you can’t strangulate the revenue streams in New Mexico,” said Rounds, executive director of the New Mexico Coalition of Educational Leaders. “So we’re very concerned.”

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