No more fox guarding our henhouse

December 30, 2018 GMT

Sarah Cottrell Propst, New Mexico’s newly appointed secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, does not appear to be the same old fox guarding our henhouse.

This is a good thing for New Mexico because she will oversee the Oil Conservation Division and control the Oil Conservation Commission, both of which have let the citizens of New Mexico down for too long.

Everything oil and gas affects everything water and air.

The Oil Conservation Division and Oil Conservation Commission are this year’s joint winners of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center’s annual Toxic Turkey Award for what the law center believes is their failure to adequately regulate the oil and gas industry.


Cottrell Propst will appoint a new executive director of the Oil Conservation Division; that person and Cottrell Propst will appoint their designees to the Oil Conservation Commission. Those designees, along with incoming State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard’s designee, can improve oil and gas oversight and hopefully overturn the “double-drilling” decision that just went down recently, as well as stop all venting and flaring, increase inspections, collect on fines for bad actors, expedite our transition to renewables, and so much more.

This appointment looks very promising. We will be watching closely all of the new governor’s Cabinet appointments and, in turn, all of their appointments. They all swear the same Oath of Office, as written in the state constitution. Let’s hold them to it. The New Mexico State Constitution is our supreme state law.

The Constitution of the State of New Mexico, Article XX Section 1: “Every person elected or appointed to any office shall, before entering upon his duties, take and subscribe to an oath or affirmation that he will support the constitution of the United States and the constitution and laws of this state, and that he will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of his office to the best of his ability.”

Mike Neas is a retired custom homebuilder who has lived in Placitas for 40 years.