The New York Times recently reported New Mexico is unveiling a program to make tuition at its public colleges and universities free for all state residents, regardless of family income. The $35 million program, which still requires legislative approval, would use revenues from the state’s booming oil and gas production to cover much of the cost.
The Permian Basin, spanning West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico, has played a significant role in the United States’ record energy production. But in order to sustain the growth in the Permian, policymakers must welcome further investment in the region’s critical energy infrastructure network. New pipelines are needed to transport crude oil and gas to refineries and consumer markets across the country.
Free college has been staple for a number of the 2020 presidential hopefuls – but so has limiting – or even eliminating – U.S. oil and gas development. New Mexico’s proposal is a perfect example as to how a strong domestic energy industry can benefit all parties – from the thousands of families supported by the industry’s well-paying jobs to the students that will be able to take advantage of this innovative program. A successful energy industry is key to a successful economy.
In light of the Saudi Aramco attacks this past weekend, the United States was reminded as to the importance of American energy production. Thanks to record production in the Permian, Americans were able to continue with their everyday lives, largely uninterrupted despite the attacks affecting 5-6% of the global oil supply.
Prioritizing investment in energy development and expanding our energy infrastructure network facilitates new economic opportunities, bolsters our national security, and meets the energy needs of Americans and our allies abroad.