by George Zamora
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 14, 2006 – New Mexico Tech President Daniel H. López testified in Washington this morning (Wednesday, June 14) before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Resources at a Congressional hearing being held to consider H.R. 4761, the Domestic Energy Production through Offshore Exploration and Equitable Treatment of State Holdings Act of 2006.
During his testimony, the New Mexico Tech President specifically urged federal lawmakers to support Sections 12 and 23 of H.R. 4761, which would create a Federal Energy and Mineral Resources Professional Development Fund.
If enacted, the legislation will enable the U.S. Department of Interior to use revenues obtained from H.R. 4761 off-shore leasing activities to establish the new professional development fund to maintain and support petroleum and mining engineering education and research programs at recognized petroleum or mining schools throughout the nation, such as New Mexico Tech.
Initial projections of possible revenues that could be generated through off-shore leases estimate that as much as $40 million per year might eventually be available for the professional development fund.
In addition, an annual outlay of funds under H.R. 4761 may also be granted to institutions that provide vocational education and training for students that lead to technical positions in oil and gas, coal mining, or mineral industries.
“New energy exploration and production also require engineering and workforce expansion,” Tech President López said during his testimony. “Unless we opt to become dependent not only on foreign oil, but also on foreign oil engineers and workers in the field, passage of H.R. 4761 will need to become a reality as our next milestone in national energy policy.”