Will Udall and Heinrich Vote to Ban the Ban?


The Albuquerque Journal’s Kevin Robinson-Avila has an important piece today on the “volatile ups and downs in crude prices that could push the market — and ultimately production in the southeastern part of the state — to its lowest point in more than a decade.”

Citing numbers from the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, the reporter noted that “at least 6,000 people are estimated to have lost their jobs in New Mexico since prices began to crash.”

Things are bad now, but they could get worse. Robinson-Avila highlighted the fact that Iran is slated to “aggressively ramp up its oil production next year as international sanctions are lifted following last summer’s deal designed to limit Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon.”

Nearby, the United Arab Emirates wants to be a bigger player, too. Last week the U.S. Energy Information Administration disclosed that the UAE, “the world’s sixth-largest oil producer in 2014,” is “relying on the application of enhanced oil recovery … techniques in mature oil fields to increase production. Using EOR techniques, the government plans to expand production 30% by 2020.”

Lifting the nation’s ban on oil exports isn’t a silver bullet, but it would surely help shore up industry investment and employment in New Mexico. The House of Representative has voted to repeal the ban, as has the Senate Banking Committee. A vote awaits in the full Senate.

Unfortunately, New Mexico’s senators are inexcusably wishy-washy on banning the ban. Tom Udall is “studying the issue and the long-term ramifications for our economy, national security and environment,” while Martin Heinrich is in favor, but only “if it were paired up with, for example, some of the renewable tax credits … that have been so important to the growth we’ve seen in the renewables economy.”

Like passing a right-to-work law, lifting the ban on oil exports costs taxpayers nothing, but has tremendous value as a tool to “create or save” jobs. Are New Mexico’s senators really so dense that they cannot see how selling crude abroad will help the Land of Enchantment?