RGF applauds ABQ Journal for indepth reporting (but we have ideas)

The Albuquerque Journal should be commended for its in-depth series on abandoned oil and gas wells throughout New Mexico. This kind of journalism is a dying breed. The bad players past and present in oil and gas need to be held to account, but if plugging and remediating these wells (some of which have been around for decades) is a priority for the State, the industry has generated plenty of money to address the issue.

According to the article there are 1,600 wells that need to be plugged in New Mexico. The total cost of plugging all the wells that need to be plugged is $240 million. That’s a lot of money, but the industry has paid taxes for decades to pay for remediation and restoration of the land. Of course, for the past two years oil and gas has generated surpluses of $3.5 billion. And the industry paid a total of $13.9 billion in taxes in FY 2023 alone. 

So, we applaud the Journal, but we think there are even more pressing needs for in-depth journalism. Here are a few:

  1. Why are New Mexicans so poor when they have so much natural wealth around them?
  2. Why is New Mexico’s education system an unmitigated disaster despite massive infusions of funding? Are there real solutions?
  3. What would it actually take to successfully achieve MLG’s EV mandate? How many chargers? How much electricity? What will the added weight of EV’s do to the roads?
  4. How much is the “Energy Transition” really going to cost (including subsidies) and will “renewable” replacements be able to keep the lights on? What are the environmental impacts of those “renewables?”
  5. How does the gross receipts tax impact New Mexico businesses and those that might locate here?
  6. What could be done with the billions in oil and gas money tied up in numerous government funds? How could those funds be used to bring prosperity to New Mexico?
  7. Why does New Mexico perform so poorly on nearly all social and economic measures relative to our neighbors?

What questions do YOU wish New Mexico media outlets would explore? Email us at: info@riograndefoundation.org

Why Should Leaders Ask Questions? - Bob Tiede