Environment Secretary to Resign
Gov. Susana Martinez confirmed that New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn is stepping down from his post effective Aug. 12. Flynn has been with the Martinez administration since 2011, working as the agency’s general counsel until April 2013, when he was appointed Cabinet Secretary. In the statement, Martinez says that Flynn “has put his heart and soul into protecting our environment and always put New Mexicans first," and commends his role in negotiating, “the largest settlement in the history of the United States between a state and the Department of Energy,” and his involvement in the Kirtland Air Force Base spill and the Gold King Mine spill—his handling of which received criticism from some environmental groups who claimed a rule adopted by the department wasn't tough enough on pollution. Flynn has not made a statement regarding any future plans. Environment Department Deputy Secretary Butch Tongate will serve as acting secretary.
ART Project Temporarily Halted, Then Restarted
Though a federal judge ruled against an injunction proposed by opponents of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project to halt construction until more studies have been done, on Monday the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction to temporarily stop ART. Opponents had claimed the Federal Transit Administration accepted the proposal without fully investigating the city's impact research, and the transit system would negatively affect neighborhoods and businesses along the route. The FTA said the city submitted more information than was required by law. The judge said that while he might not completely agree with the ART project's proposal, the arguments made by its opponents did not convince him that the plan would have a negative impact on the city. An appeal to US District Judge Kenneth Gonzales’ decision was filed by attorneyJohn Boyd after the decision came down, and on Monday, a federal appeals court issued a temporary order halting construction until the case is reviewed later this week. At 5:44pm on Tuesday, the order was modified, allowing pre-construction work to begin.
APD Meeting Expectations
A US District Judge said the Albuquerque Police Department is in full compliance with the federal reform process. Dr. James Ginger, an independent monitor, warns against celebrating too early though, stating that he’s concerned the department could be changing too quickly, possibly frustrating some officers. He also mentioned doubts that the department will reach its goal within its four year deadline.