Recently, it was quietly announced that Ryan Flynn, who quit his position as state environment secretary in August, would be heading the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. Gov. Susana Martinez appointed Flynn — then a tax lawyer — as New Mexico Environment Department general counsel in 2011 and elevated him to secretary in 2013.

The governor has stated that the administration has worked successfully to protect our environment under Flynn’s leadership. Is this a fair statement? Flynn’s departure is an appropriate occasion to evaluate the Martinez administration’s record on environmental protection.

Groundwater quality: Groundwater is one of New Mexico’s most precious resources, providing drinking water to 90 percent of our population. The administration’s main initiative affecting groundwater is the Copper Mine Rule, written by and for industry to allow the pollution of groundwater. With assistance from mining industry lawyers, Martinez appointees at the Environment Department drafted the rule. Martinez appointees on the Water Quality Control Commission adopted the rule with little debate, and Martinez appointees hired a law firm, at taxpayer expense, to defend the rule.

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