HECHO launches ad campaign calling on NM State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn to back measures to end natural gas waste

Santa Fe – Today, the Latino sportsmen group HECHO (Hispanics Enjoying Camping Hunting and Outdoors) launched a radio ad campaign criticizing New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn for opposing efforts to curb natural gas waste on public and tribal lands. The radio ads will run for two weeks in the Santa Fe area.

“We’re deeply concerned that Commissioner Dunn opposes commonsense rules to cut natural gas waste in New Mexico,” said Rock Ulibarri, a San Miguel County commissioner and advisory board member with HECHO. “Wasting our natural resources goes against what we teach our kids. Hunters and anglers use all of what we kill or catch, and we feel the same about our natural resources – including taxpayer-owned natural gas resources on our public lands.” 

In a highly political news release last month funded by taxpayers, Commissioner Dunn publicly opposed the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Natural Gas Waste Rule, despite the fact that New Mexico ranks number one in the nation for wasted natural gas. ICF International found that oil and gas companies burn, vent, or leak $101 million worth of natural gas each year in New Mexico alone and $330 million across the U.S. 

Moreover, wasted natural gas means lost royalty revenue to the State of New Mexico. According to a report by the Western Values Project, New Mexico lost more than $50 million in revenue over the last five years that would have gone to support the state’s public education system. 

Additional funds are critically needed given that the state is staring down a $120 million budget shortfall over the next two years due to declining energy production, lower-than-expected royalty payments, and a sluggish economy. 

“It’s disgraceful that Commissioner Dunn is opposing steps to curb natural gas waste when his office is supposed to be getting a fair return to New Mexico taxpayers for developing our natural resources,” continued Ulibarri. 

In fact, a February 2016 report from the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department drafted at the request of Sen. Howie Morales found that natural gas waste was also an issue for lands that the state land commission office oversees. In EMNRD’s letter, they wrote that about half the natural gas wasted from flaring and venting in 2015, about 17 million thousand cubic feet of gas, occurred on state or private lands. 

Efforts to curb natural gas waste enjoys strong support across the state. More than 40 local officials have backed the BLM rule, and a January 2016 bipartisan poll from Colorado College found that 73 percent of New Mexicans support strong action to curb waste on public lands. 

The HECHO radio ads will run two weeks in the Santa Fe area and can be heard online

Full text of radio ad

I’m Rock Ulibarri, and I’ve spent my life here in New Mexico - backcountry hiking and teaching students about our outdoor way of life.

Here, hunters and anglers use every bit of what we kill or catch – we don’t waste natural resources. But if State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn and the oil and gas producers have their way, our traditions will keep going up in smoke.

Every year, oil and gas companies waste tens of millions of dollars’ worth of natural gas through flaring, venting and leaks on our public lands. That means New Mexico is missing out on millions of dollars in revenue that would support our schools and public infrastructure. So why is Dunn opposing efforts to cut waste and support our schools?

Tell Commissioner Dunn to stop opposing the Bureau of Land Management’s natural gas waste rule. New Mexicans won’t watch our future go up in smoke. 

Paid for by Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors.