State Senate confirms environment secretary

Posted at: 02/18/2014 4:28 PM
By: The Associated Press



SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Senate has approved Gov. Susana Martinez's choice to run the New Mexico Environment Department despite the objections of several conservation groups.

Lawmakers voted 30-11 Tuesday to confirm the nomination of Ryan Flynn as cabinet secretary of the agency.

The governor appointed Flynn to the post last year after a retirement forced her to reshuffle leadership in two agencies. Flynn had previously served as the agency's general counsel for two years.

Flynn's confirmation followed a two-hour hearing in which environmentalists criticized him and the department over the development of regulations aimed at groundwater and copper mining.

Critics contend the department caved to industry interests in crafting the rules, which they say violate state law prohibiting water contamination above certain standards.

Flynn disputed the allegations and said his responsibility is to protect New Mexico's air, water and landscapes.

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