Oil & Gas Provides $934 Million To New Mexico Education

Letter to the editor - Mike Dempsey


In 2017, Oil and Gas production in New Mexico provided $711 million to New Mexico K-12 education, and $223 million to college and university education. 

I have noted that in the past few years that the phrase “Donations from the Oil & Gas Industries” are used as almost a curse, used to taint the recipients of such donations. 

New Mexico House District 43 is NOT JUST LOS ALAMOS COUNTY!  District 43 has more than 300 active oil and gas wells between Cuba –  El Vado Reservoir and the Rio Chama and NM State Road 537.   Certain oil and gas developers are exploring large portions of District 43 and reporting that there are an estimated 50 billion cubic feet of natural gas in the formations. So are all the oil and gas workers in District 43 tainted as well as well as there employers money?  Or are the oil and gas workers in District 43 providing a extremely valuable energy source that most people don’t think about until they are without it? (Your furnace, water heater, clothes dryer and stove? The gasoline in your car?)

I have noticed that very few people in Los Alamos County remember the cold spell which affected MOST of New Mexico in February 2011. The low temperature in Los Alamos County sank to MINUS 17F, with a week of daytime temperatures which never rose above 20F. The reason Los Alamos County residents do not remember it is due to the three foot diameter Natural Gas pipeline which feeds the Natural Gas power plant at LANL  We in Los Alamos County were not affected and our gas remained on. People OFF the Hill from Taos to Albuquerque (even Carlsbad) had their gas cut off and had to move to shelters until the NM National Guard had gone house to house re-lighting the pilot lights. You don’t miss it until you are without it.  

Would the candidates who boast that they “Accepted no money from the Oil & Gas Industries” (Christine Chandler, Stephanie Garcia-Richards) seek to ban further exploration and production of Oil & Gas in New Mexico?  They make noise about the “evil” oil and gas industries.  Would they raise your income taxes to make up the difference?  The loss of $934 millionin Oil & Gas revenues would mean the taxes of every person (Woman, man & child all two million New Mexicans) would have to be raised by $467 per person or $1868 per family of four.

At a candidates forum in Los Alamos on Sept. 16 Christine Chandler indicated that she would raise income, property and gross receipts taxes to fund pre-kindergarten education.  $467 per Person may not sound like a lot of money to the wealthy in Los Alamos County (6th highest per capita income county in the United States), but I assure you it is a significant amount of money to many people in District 43!

Mike Dempsey
White Rock