A pair of bills aimed at addressing the “benign neglect” of the National Park Service’s $11.6 billion maintenance backlog have received strong bipartisan support, with funds for infrastructure at the ailing federal parks drawing from energy leases and mineral development on federal lands, the bill’s sponsors said. The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands heard testimony today on the bills—the “National Park Restoration Act” from Rep. Michael Simpson (R-Idaho) and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and the “National Park Legacy Act of 2017” from Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii). Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Natural Resources Committee Chairman, has sponsored both bills.


Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults opposed a federal 25 cent per gallon tax increase on gasoline in order to fund infrastructure improvements, according to a new poll released by Politico and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health earlier this week. In broad, bipartisan opposition, 64 percent of U.S. adults opposed raising the federal gasoline tax by 25 cents, with 65 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Democrats opposing the gas-tax-for-infrastructure funding source.

New Mexico’s record oil production boom is “no surprise” to industry observers and the state’s natural resources department, according to the state’s top energy official. Ken McQueen, Cabinet Secretary for New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, told Western Wire that his state’s oil production boom in 2017 was expected by those closely tracking industry indicators like rig count.

House Committee on Natural Resources

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke laid out the primary factors that will figure in any determination to move bureau headquarters from Washington, D.C. to communities in the West, citing affordability and quality of life. Zinke delivered testimony on the Department of Interior’s FY 2019 budget before the House Natural Resources Committee just two days after a similar appearance before the Senate.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made clear that investing in infrastructure will be a priority of the agency over the next year and the agency will use revenues from energy development to help pay for it, during testimony about the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) proposed 2019 budget on Capitol Hill yesterday. “This budget is a major step towards keeping another one of the president’s promises, rebuilding our infrastructure,” Zinke told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

New Mexico Leads West’s Oil Production Boom In 2017

by Michael Sandoval March 13, 2018


Record oil production and output levels across several Western states marked an “astonishing” year for New Mexico and several other Western states, according to new reporting data. New figures for the full year of 2017 released late last month by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) show New Mexico’s oil production topped 172 million barrels of oil in 2017, up from the previous record of 147 million barrels produced in 2015. The state’s December monthly output, 17.2 million barrels, was the highest going back to 1981.

George Brauchler, Western Wire

Deference to federal authority, state supremacy in oil and gas regulations, and attorney general independence were among the issues contested between candidates vying for Colorado’s open attorney general seat come November. Denver attorney Brad Levin, a Democrat, and George Brauchler, a Republican and prosecutor, squared off at an attorney general forum sponsored by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association earlier this week.