New Mexico is currently facing a budget crisis due to the downturn in oil prices. Fortunately for the State Land Office, Section 126.96.36.199(G) of the New Mexico Administrative Code authorizes the State Land Commissioner to periodically review the easement price schedule, and review it he has. As of January 20, 2017, Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has proposed substantial changes to the easement price schedule that will increase the cost of all easements, be they telecom, road, pipeline, etc.
If enacted, all easements will cost a minimum of $200.00. The new cost per rod for a road up to 20’ is $30.00 (previously $20.00), with the price per rod for existing roads increasing five dollars to $15.00 per rod. The cost per rod for an oil and gas pipeline in the Southeast Quadrant (including Lea and Eddy Counties) will double from $30.00 for a 12 3/4” OD to $60.00, and from fair market value for a pipeline greater than 12 3/4” OD to an amount equal to the greater of $100.00 per rod or fair market value. The proposal also includes language that pipeline easements will be granted on the condition that transportation and processing charges for state gas transported over the easement will be based on a percentage of the market value of the end product.
Written comments will be accepted until noon on February 24, 2017 while the revised easement price schedule will most likely go into effect March 1, 2017. You may want to pay your attorney to protest by written letter addressed to Stephanie LeMaster, New Mexico State Land Office, Attention: Easement Price Schedule Comments, P. O. Box 1148, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87504-1148, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The current easement rate schedule can be found HERE.
The revised easement rate schedule can be found HERE.
New Mexico Administrative Code 19.2.10, which covers everything you ever wanted to know
about easements on State Trust Lands but were too afraid to ask, can be found HERE.