Sometimes, policies introduced by governments for the welfare of the people cause more harm than doing good. New Mexico’s ongoing oil and gas resource crisis is living proof of this.
For years, the state has been dependent on the oil and gas industry for its revenue. In 2020, it added $2.8 billion to its cash box as profits from the natural resources industry. Evidently, when you're getting such good returns from just one sector, why find other economic options, right? Well, apparently, that's how the state government has been thinking. But the problem is that they're overlooking the issues faced by the local people. Plus, they are also ignoring the natural resources available to them.
New Mexico is shooting itself in the foot
The Permian Basin, which stretches from Carlsbad to the New Mexico border, is a hub of oil-producing companies. Every year it generates tons of oil and gas that keep the New Mexico state swimming in money. But along with bringing in so much capital, it's also pushing the state behind its competitors. On top of that, it's affecting the health of people in that area.
If New Mexico starts using its natural resources like sun and wind, it can produce twenty times more energy than it requires. It can even become an exporter of renewable energy and support other nearby states. But just because the government is reluctant to change its ways, the state and its people are suffering badly.
Many people have been sacrificing their basic necessities in the name of sustenance. An instance of the government's stubbornness was when Governor Michele Lujan Grisham wrote a letter to President Joe Biden requesting him to cancel the 60-day suspension of new oil and gas leases. What bothered Grisham was that the operations of oil and gas companies would stop if the order stayed, because more than half of the state's wells are on federal lands.
The major issue is that the future of the state lies in the hands of the government. If the government produces green energy, it can become one of the largest exporters in the West. It'll be able to create job opportunities, establish better infrastructure, improve education and do a lot more for the betterment of people. But if it stuck with the same plan, which it has been following for years, it would always lag. This solo move by the government could change the way Carlsbad has been contributing for years.
Experts have been pointing out to the government for years that it can focus on both the oil and gas industry and renewables industry and still earn more income. Many activist groups have also filed complaints shedding light on this issue, but all their efforts have gone in vain. No one can indeed convince a system or person who's already made up his mind.
The biggest ‘when’
It again comes down to the fundamental question of when governments will realize that policies are made for the betterment of the public. They need to be in the best interest of the people and not cause trouble for them.