A Bureau of Land Management oil and natural gas lease sale in Roswell, New Mexico, last September had generated $145.6 million in revenue, but the $69.9 million payment to New Mexico was delayed for months because of protests by activist groups opposed to oil and natural gas development. Today, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration confirmed to Western Wire that the payment has been received by the state.
The Broomfield City Council is set to hold its first public meeting since emails obtained through an open records request revealed communications between Councilman Kevin Kreeger and a local activist who called for violence towards oil and gas workers. Andrew O’Connor’s letter to the editor appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera on April 19.
Colorado’s Democratic governor, who has continually warned about the ability of western states to meet strict 2015 federal air regulations, said the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to delay implementation of the Obama administration’s ground-level ozone standard until 2018 would have little impact on his state’s efforts to continue improving air quality. “The delay of the 2015 standard will not deter our efforts to move toward compliance with the 2008 standard,” Gov. John Hickenlooper told Western Wire via email.
At an event hosted by Colorado business groups earlier this week, representatives of the oil and natural gas industry touted diversification programs, energy development in the state and efforts to improve the industry’s safety record. “Colorado is leading the way with workforce diversification. It is no secret that the oil and gas industry is old, male and white,” Colorado Petroleum Council Executive Director Tracee Bentley said. “I was thrilled when [the American Petroleum Institute] said, you know what, if there’s any state that could help change this, it’s Colorado.”
A bill to ban hydraulic fracturing in Nevada died earlier this week when it failed to emerge from the state’s Senate Natural Resources Committee and lawmakers adjourned at midnight on Monday. Assembly Bill 159, sponsored by Assemblyman Justin Watkins (D-Las Vegas), had passed the Nevada Assembly but saw no vote in the state Senate after a committee hearing on May 30. Nevada would have been the fourth state to ban fracking but the first in the West, following in the footsteps of Maryland, New York, and Vermont.
Officials across the West are applauding the Trump administration’s decision to give states an additional year to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s ozone rule, which was made more stringent under the Obama administration. “It’s great to see the EPA working with Arizonans for a change,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said in a statement issued yesterday.
A Senate committee approved Deputy Interior Secretary nominee David Bernhardt earlier today. In a 14-9 vote, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved Bernhardt’s nomination, which will be considered on the Senate floor next.