Modernizing oil and gas bonding will improve public health, help taxpayers, and clean up our air and water

New Mexicans want to care for and protect the air, lands, waters, and cultural resources we depend on.

Across New Mexico, thousands of old, abandoned oil and gas wells and infrastructure leak methane and other chemicals that pollute our air and water, damaging our health. Ensuring oil and gas companies properly clean up their pollution and fully restore well sites when extraction ends opens new doors to clean air, clean water, and new jobs for New Mexicans. And 90% of New Mexicans support requiring oil and gas companies, rather than taxpayers, to pay for all of the clean-up and land restoration costs after drilling is finished.

trash bill residentialRegardless of property size, homeowners pay for garbage disposal.

New Mexicans expect the same from out-of-state corporations that operate here. Modernizing safeguards and bonding will create a fairer system for the public in which oil and gas corporations are responsible for preventing harm to the communities they operate in.

A bond is similar to a deposit placed when renting a home to repair or clean up any messes left by a tenant.

Right now, our laws don’t require oil and gas companies to set aside enough money to clean up and restore wells and other infrastructure, leaving taxpayers to pick up the bill. Our decisionmakers must act to modernize bonding laws to ensure oil and gas companies are good neighbors and clean up their own messes.

Fossil fuels are finite resources that will not underpin New Mexico’s economy forever. Now is the time to open new doors to an economy where all communities thrive and New Mexico’s air, land, water, and cultural resources are protected.

Modernizing oil and gas laws will open new doors for New Mexico by:

  • Creating new jobs in oil and gas fields for displaced oil and gas workers. Timely clean-up of old wells would inject over $8.2 billion into the New Mexico economy and support 65,337 jobs, paying $4.1 billion in wages, salaries, and benefits, according to a 2021 study.
  • Oil and gas workers suffer from a number of health issues including high rates of injury and death, substance misuse and mental health issues emanating from long term separation from families and the isolated nature of the work, according to a 2024 study by UNM. New Mexicans want good-paying jobs with opportunities to advance that allow them to take care of their families, and they want these jobs available for their children.
  • Protecting drinking water supplies. Ninety percent of New Mexicans rely on groundwater for their drinking water. Oil and gas wells are drilled through aquifers and when left to degrade, can threaten our vital water supplies by leaking dangerous toxic pollutants.
  • Protecting the air we breathe. When a well is left unattended without proper cleanup and restoration, it contributes to air pollution and emits methane – a powerful greenhouse gas.
  • Reflecting New Mexicans’ values. New Mexicans want out-of-state corporations to pay their fair share and act responsibly, including cleaning up their own messes. Our laws and our government should reflect New Mexico’s basic value of respect for all people.
    • An overwhelming 90% of New Mexicans support requiring oil and gas companies, rather than taxpayers, to pay for all of the clean-up and land restoration costs after drilling is finished.

We can protect our air, land, water, wildlife, and health by properly cleaning up and restoring polluting oil and gas well sites while creating jobs. Let’s work together to Keep New Mexico enchanting by updating laws to ensure oil and gas companies clean up their own messes.

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