To the Editor:
I’m writing in response to a recent Herald column that called for the end of ExxonMobil’s recruitment at Brown. I live in New Mexico, the second-poorest state in the United States (ahead of Mississippi). In the past three years, we have grown from the sixth largest oil producer in the country to the third largest. Our Big Three oil producers are ExxonMobil (through XTO Energy), Chevron and Oxy/Anadarko. These large producers have brought in more environmentally conscious drilling and production, with a focus on reducing methane emissions.
This year, oil and gas account for $3.9 billion of our $7 billion budget. As a result, our oil and gas revenues have led to record increases in the state budget. We’ve chosen to focus our new investments in education, medical treatment and legal reform.
Oil and gas will contribute to a $1.3 billion surplus for the $7.8 billion in revenue that New Mexico has generated. Our politicians, Democrat and Republican, are voting on additional funds for education.
So your efforts to prevent ExxonMobil and others from recruiting at Brown directly hurt our state’s efforts to improve education, medical care and legal reform. In addition, abundant natural gas is replacing coal as the largest source of electricity in the United States. Among the 36 members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States has reduced the most CO2 emissions in the past 10 years.
You may not be aware of who we are or why we regard these revenues as important.
You may not even care that we exist.
That’s okay. We’re used to it. East Coast intellectuals have always discounted our existence.
But we are here. And we are using the additional funds generated to bring our people out of poverty.
So be careful what you wish for.
John Lonergan ’72