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Appalachia’s present could become New Mexico’s future

March 05, 2021

The Energy Mix:

Analysts are warning that New Mexico’s dependence on oil and gas could lead to the same legacy of poverty and pollution as Appalachia inherited after the decline of coal. That has some observers pointing to the option of a better ending—by using the state’s confirmed potential as a solar and wind powerhouse.

The pandemic brought misery to New Mexico’s oil economy, and, by extension, to vast numbers of the state’s people, reports Capital & Main. In better times, fossil dollars furnished “a significant chunk” of annual state revenues—at least 15 to 25%, spiking to 34% in 2020. So when the pandemic tanked demand, thousands of workers felt the blow of unemployment, and scores of drilling and oilfield service companies went bankrupt. 

“When it comes to corporate inability and unwillingness to meet their cleanup costs, there are worrying similarities between the two extraction industries,” said Clark Williams-Derry, an energy finance analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. 

[Staff Report]

More: Appalachia’s Coal Fate Could Hold Lessons For New Mexico

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