Albuquerque Journal: Editorial: Bipartisanship pays off in royalties for the state

ABQ Journal Editorial:

New Mexico will, after all, receive $26 million in mineral royalties for the current fiscal year that the federal government had decided to confiscate in the name of budget cuts. It’s money the state was owed but is being held back by the feds as part of sequestration, which took effect in March.

New Mexicans can thank the efforts of its entire congressional delegation and some other westerners for making sure the state got what it deserved. Only Wyoming will get more back than New Mexico.

The U.S. Department of the Interior, prodded by legislation introduced by New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat, and Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi, a Republican, on Monday reversed its earlier decision to withhold millions of dollars in mineral royalty payments from oil and gas producing Western states. The royalties are collected from energy companies that extract oil, gas and other minerals from federal lands. Normally, states where minerals are extracted get half of the royalties, but Interior said it was going to withhold 5.1 percent of the state’s cut, claiming it was authorized to do so by sequestration. Never mind that sequestration was supposed to rein in federal spending, not let the feds pick the pockets of states.

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