Fossil fuel rules catch Western towns between old economies and new green goals

The town of Farmington, New Mexico, is caught in a transition from a reliance on fossil fuels to embracing green goals, amid new federal land use rules.

The current state of play: Demand for outdoor activities in Farmington is growing, set against the decline of the oil and gas industry which historically built the town.
* Farmington is focusing on its outdoor amenities and access to U.S. public lands.
* Despite this, there’s frustration at the lack of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff dedicated to outdoor recreation in the area.

Regulation changes: President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act contains new federal land use rules that could alter how federal land is leased for drilling, aiming to keep up with market changes.
* The new rule could increase royalty rates on federal land from 12.5% to 16.67% and increase bonds from $10,000 to $150,000.
* The rule has been criticized by those still working in the oil and gas industry, who feel it’s a political move that makes their work more difficult.

Reactions to transition efforts: Some argue that while the outdoor economy is on the rise, the salaries offered in this industry may not replace those in fossil fuels.
* The Mayor of Farmington argues that the new drilling rule could hinder an industry that still provides significant local support.
* Despite this, there’s acknowledgment that better management and more resources from the BLM are needed to aid the area’s transition to a more outdoor-based economy.

View original article on NPR

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