ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Department of the Interior will return $26 million in mineral royalty payments to New Mexico.
U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Lujan, Michelle Lujan Grisham and Steve Pearce announced the move Monday. They called for the state to be rightfully paid under the Mineral Leasing Act.
In fiscal year 2013, federal government officials decided New Mexico’s share of royalties under the MLA would be subject to automatic, across-the-board spending cuts.
The New Mexico delegation opposed the move, which would cost 35 states a total of $109 million. That included $26 million from New Mexico this year and similar amounts in future years.
The delegation and lawmakers from other Western states led a bipartisan call for the Interior Department to return the payments.