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Powell Critical of Lyons’ Upcoming Oil and Gas Lease Sale

Posted on : 05-26-2010 | By : admin | In : Press Releases

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Contacts:

  • Ray Powell, 505-507-0697
  • Neri Holguin, Campaign Manager, 505-217-8705

ALBUQUERQUE (May 26, 2010). In an upcoming oil and gas lease sale, State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons has included the lease sale of state lands around White Peak in Mora and Colfax counties in Northern New Mexico, in direct contrast to a pledge he made earlier this year to not lease the area for energy production. Furthermore, pending before the Supreme Court is a case regarding the trading away of state lands at White Peak. It’s unclear how the oil and gas lease sale will complicate this matter.

It was just learned that Lyons plans to hold an oil and gas lease sale of 11,096 acres in Colfax County and 9,275 acres in Mora County on June 15, which is in direct contrast to previous commitments to not lease the area. On January 1, 2010, Commissioner Lyons issued a press release saying, “I am unwilling to lease these lands for oil and gas development.”

Commissioner Lyons has been at the center of controversy for his decision to trade away White Peak state lands in northern New Mexico.  Sportsmen, elected officials, former State Land Commissioner Ray Powell and leaders from northern New Mexico communities have been critical of the exchange.

Mr. Lyons has been under intense scrutiny by both the New Mexico Attorney General and New Mexico State Auditor regarding the process for selling, exchanging, and leasing of trust lands. “I am  very upset to learn about the impending oil and gas lease sale around White Peak. There is a pending New Mexico Supreme Court decision on this issue and  this is yet another appalling example of what you should not do as State Land Commissioner.” said Powell.

“From the onset, this exchange needed more oversight and scrutiny. Affected groups, local communities and the public were never consulted. The danger is that there will be more flawed trades, sales, and oil and gas leases in inappropriate locations in the remaining six months Mr. Lyons is in office,” says Ray Powell.

“It seems like he has gone to war with the communities up North,” says Powell.  “I am committed to working to reform the policies and procedures at the State Land Office to increase transparency, accountability, collaboration, and prevent abuses like this from happening in the future,” says Powell.

Veterinarian Ray Powell is a Democratic candidate for the position of State Land Commissioner. Powell served as Land Commissioner from 1993-2002, and was recognized for running one of the best land management agencies in the country.

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