SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has appointed a longtime employee of the state Environment Department to serve as the agency’s new leader.
Butch Tongate’s appointment was announced Monday. He replaces Ryan Flynn, who resigned earlier this summer to take a job with an oil and gas industry group.
Tongate’s career with the agency has spanned more than two decades. He served as chief of the Solid Waste Bureau and director of the Environmental Protection Division. Most recently, he worked as deputy secretary.
Martinez says Tongate’s breadth of experience is an asset.
The department is in the midst of a legal battle with the federal government and the state of Colorado over the handling of a massive mine waste spill in 2015 that tainted rivers New Mexico and other states.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.