Friday, May 10, 2013

Udall challenges Obama administration on sequestration hit on mineral royalties

Sen. Tom Udall has been a loyal supporter of President Obama, but the New Mexico Democrat is at odds over a move to take $26 million from the state in mineral and energy royalties and now he’s taking his case to the Senate itself. Udall on Thursday (May 9) will introduce the State Mineral Revenue Protection Act, which would prohibit the federal government from seizing royalties as part of sequestration cuts, New Mexico Watchdog has learned. “The agreement for mineral development needs to be honored,” Udall said by phone from his Capitol Hill office. “These aren’t federal funds. These revenues should not be subject to sequestration.” In late March, working through the U.S. Department of the Interior, the administration cut mineral and energy payments to 35 states by 5 percent. New Mexico stands to lose nearly $26 million— second only to Wyoming, which could lose $53 million for mineral and energy rights on state lands with federal leases...more

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