The disgraced far-left environmental radicalism group “WildEarth Guardians,” headquartered in Santa Fe, has begun a renewed assault on the critical New Mexico oil and gas industry, claiming the state is “shackled” to revenues from oil and gas production.
In this renewed effort by the group to petition legislators to reject oil and gas, they claim, “If oil and gas were the key to New Mexico’s prosperity, the state would be one of the most prosperous in the United States. It’s not even close.”
“The state ranks last in quality of education, has the second highest poverty rate in the United States, and was recently ranked the third worst state in the nation,” claimed WildEarth Guardians.
The group appears to be blaming New Mexico’s failing education system on oil and gas, despite basic logic proving otherwise.
If that claim were true, then Texas, which is benefitted by $502.6 billion of economic impact from the oil and gas industry, or 30.5% of the state’s gross domestic product, would be also failing in education and poverty.
However, Texas is ranked significantly higher than New Mexico on national surveys, such as the U.S. News and World Report, where Texas ranks 34 in education versus New Mexico at 50. New Mexico ranks extremely low for poverty 48th lowest with 18.6% of residents in poverty compared to Texas’ much lower 13.7% poverty rate and rank of 35.
WildEarth Guardians is well-known for its extremist views on the environment and its incessant lawsuits filed against federal agencies to stymie the United States’ goal of energy independence.
The organization receives federal and state contracts. According to InfluenceWatch, “WildEarth Guardians reported allegedly fraudulent overbilling by a longtime employee Jim Matison, director of the restoration program, and outside contractor, Jeff Hamm of Colorado-based Timberline LLC., to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque in May 2019.”
“The fraud reportedly occurred in state and federal contracts awarded to WildEarth Guardians, for projects such as planting native cottonwoods and willows, reducing water temperatures and preventing damaging algae. The organization completed all the contracted work, but then fake work was added. Horning said the group also reported the matter to inspectors general for the U.S. Interior and Agriculture departments and the Environmental Protection Agency, which had awarded contracts to the group.”
Now, the flailing organization is continuing its record of controversy by claiming, “The oil and gas industry has wielded undue political influence to cover up its true costs.” WildEarth Guardians demands New Mexico lawmakers “make a just and equitable transition” from oil and gas a “priority.”
According to a 2012 study by Americans for Prosperity, a moderate group, “a total of some $4 billion in economic impacts would result if the WildEarth Guardians were to achieve all of their stated goals with respect to the protection of wildlife through the complete elimination of grazing, coal mining, and drilling on public lands.” That $4 billion economic impact is likely much more today.
WildEarth Guardians “will continue to present a clear and present danger not just to the court system, and to the Western economy and way of life, but to the taxpayers who unwittingly bankroll its monkey-wrenching of the West,” concluded the report.
In the 2020 fiscal year, the oil and gas industry contributed $2.8 billion to state revenues, making up 33.5% of state spending. Without the critical industry, New Mexico would not survive, at least not without extreme cuts to government spending.