Regional
4:09 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

"Veiled Blackmail:" Legislators Ask Martinez To Link Drilling Policy With Funding

Credit Office of the Governor

  Gov. Susanna Martinez's office says she won't cut projects based on a community's oil and gas development policy. The comment comes after dozens of New Mexico legislators asked her to link approval of state funding for projects based on local governments' willingness to allow mineral extraction.

Las Vegas environmental activist Pat Leahan said the letter sounds like "veiled blackmail" to try to undermine counties' efforts to protect the health, safety and well-being of residents.

The Las Vegas Optic reports the letter sent Feb. 6 came as environmentalists and others pressured local governments to restrict drilling. At the same time, industry supporters are urging officials to allow extraction while citing potential tax revenue and jobs created.

The letter said the unwillingness of communities to allow drilling reduces state tax collections that pay for capital projects.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.