Gov. Lujan Grisham has line-item vetoed a tax exemption in House Bill 252 that would have effectively forced taxpayers to pay “stripper well” operators’ costs to comply with the state’s methane waste and ozone precursor rules, rules designed to protect the climate and public health.The 29 New Mexico civic and environmental groups who formally urged the governor to veto this unnecessary and unsound tax giveaway today applaud her for holding strong against this proposed special interest handout to low-producing wells. The governor’s veto helps dispel the myth that “stripper wells” are run by struggling small businesses, when in fact more than half of all of such wells in New Mexico belong to major oil and gas companies.

“We commend the governor for standing up to this powerful, dirty industry and defending the public interest,” said Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, executive director of the Western Environmental Law Center. “The oil and gas industry’s appetite for taxpayer handouts and subsidies is endless. Stripper wells produce very little energy, but can create significant pollution that harms people and the environment. It is time to have a serious discussion about retiring and cleaning up these wells, not propping them up with additional tax subsidies.”

“A fundamental economic principle is that businesses should bear the external social costs they create. Despite special treatment for decades, this principle can and should apply to oil and gas businesses,” said Kayley Shoup, community organizer for Citizens Caring for the Future. “Oil and gas operators—not the public—should pay the compliance costs of reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations to protect our climate and to reduce toxic air pollutants that harm public health. A tax break to the industry that is polluting the air where my neighbors and I live in the Permian Basin was simply not warranted. The governor demonstrated leadership vetoing this tax giveaway.”

The New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee, the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, the New Mexico State Land Office, and the New Mexico Attorney General all also identified pitfalls in this concept.

The groups signing the letter include the Western Environmental Law Center, 350 New Mexico, Albuquerque Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Center For Civic Policy, Chaco Alliance, Citizens Caring For The Future, Earth Action, Inc., Earthworks, Environmental Defense Fund, FracTracker Alliance, Indivisible Albuquerque, League Of Women Voters New Mexico, Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico Chapter, New Energy Economy, New Mexico Climate Justice, New Mexico Interfaith Power And Light, New Mexico Sportsmen, New Mexico Voices For Children, New Mexico Voices For Children Action Fund, New Mexico Wild, Progressive Democrats Of America – Central New Mexico, ProgressNow New Mexico, Prosperity Works, Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens, Rio Grande Indivisible, New Mexico, San Juan Citizens Alliance, See (Social Eco Education), and WildEarth Guardians.


Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, Western Environmental Law Center, 575-751-0351,

Kayley Shoup, Citizens Caring for the Future, 575-302-7587,

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