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Review of oil and gas activities subject of online forum

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The U.S. Department of the Interior has provided information about how the public can watch an online forum about the federal review of oil and gas activities on public lands and waters, as well as submit comments.

The forum will occur 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mountain Time (or 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time) on Thursday, March 25.

The meeting will be streamed live on the Interior Department’s website, www.doi.gov/events, or can be viewed via Zoom. The link to register for the Zoom event is https://blm.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_NzmfBuh8Qk-6glSYvaqUrg.

The public also can submit comments now until April 15 by email to energyreview@ios.doi.gov.

The forum is part of the effort to conduct a “complete review and reconsideration of federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practices,” as required by Executive Order 14008, signed by President Joe Biden on Jan. 27. Interior Department managers are also meeting with governors, legislators and others involved in policy-making decisions.

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The broad-ranging executive order is intended to help solve the problems associated with global warming and climate change, which has been attributed to greenhouse gas emissions caused in part by the burning of fossil fuels.

The forum will include a presentation by newly confirmed Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and other Interior Department managers; presentations by representatives with the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management; and more than two hours of planned discussions by people representing the oil and gas industry, environmental justice groups, frontline communities, indigenous organizations, labor groups and higher education and research organizations.

Many oil and gas and business leaders in New Mexico have warned that a decrease in federal oil and gas activity will have an outsized impact on the state, because much of its oil and gas activity occurs on public lands and because its economy still relies on oil and gas revenues for about 30% of its annual budget.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham sent a letter to Biden on Monday about the economic harm that could occur to the state, stating that New Mexico could lose $709 billion from now until 2025 if oil and gas production decreases by 10%. She also asked for energy transition credits for the work the state already has done to reduce pollution by the oil and gas industry and to require carbon-free electricity generation by 2045.

Many environmental groups have said oil and gas leasing moratoriums and reforms are needed to protect natural resources and reverse the harm caused by global warming.

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