Pearce, NM Delegation: $26 Million in Mineral Royalty Payments Returning to NM

Aug 27, 2013

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce and the New Mexico Congressional Delegation announced the U.S. Department of the Interior will return $26 million in mineral royalty payments to the state of New Mexico as a result of the N.M. lawmakers’ call for the state to be rightfully paid under the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA). 


“I’m pleased that the Department of the Interior has decided to return the mineral royalties withheld earlier this year,” Pearce said. “It is unacceptable that a unilateral decision in Washington can so easily cut off millions of dollars that are the lifeblood of western states like New Mexico.  New Mexico’s classrooms and communities should not suffer at the whim of DC bureaucrats—the Administration’s reckless handling of this issue led to delays and uncertainty that are sure to impact our economy.”


In fiscal year 2013, administration officials unilaterally made the decision that state’s share of royalties under the MLA would be subject to sequestration – automatic, across-the-board federal government spending cuts. Pearce, with the rest of the New Mexico delegation, opposed the move, which would cost 35 states a total of $109 million, including $26 million from New Mexico in 2013, and similar amounts in future years. The delegation, along with lawmakers from other Western states, led a bipartisan call for the administration to return the payments. In a May 16 letter, they also noted the hardship that states and local communities would experience if the sequestered revenues were not returned. 


The full text of the letter from the Department of the Interior can be viewed here.  


The full release from the New Mexico delegation can be viewed here.