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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez reshuffled the leadership of two state agencies on Monday because of the retirement of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Secretary John Bemis.
The governor named Environment Secretary F. David Martin to succeed Bemis, who is retiring Tuesday.
The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department regulates oil and natural gas operations and is responsible for mine safety, reclamation of abandoned mines, state parks, forestry and fire management
Bemis turns 62 this month and said he had long planned to retire at this time.
Martinez appointed Environment Department General Counsel Ryan Flynn to take over for Martin as cabinet secretary. Flynn has been the agency's top lawyer for two years.
The governor said Ryan was the administration's main negotiator for an agreement earlier this year with federal regulators and the state's largest utility for reducing pollution from a coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico.
"He has been a tireless advocate for common sense approaches to regulations that protect the environment while continuing to encourage economic growth," Martinez said of Flynn.
The Environment Department oversees permitting programs for everything from power plants and mining operations to national laboratories and other industrial operators to ensure state air and water quality standards are maintained
Martin has worked for the governor since she took office in 2011. He holds engineering degrees from Texas Tech and New Mexico Tech, where he was an adjunct associate professor in the petroleum and chemical engineering department.
The governor said Martin had provided "tremendous, steady leadership" at the environmental agency.
Bemis is an attorney with experience in oil and natural gas law. The governor praised Bemis for his leadership, particularly in overseeing the agency during difficult wildfire seasons in the past two years.
Bemis became the agency's cabinet secretary in March 2011, and previously worked at the State Land Office as assistant commissioner for oil, gas, and mineral resources.