New Mexico spending plan overlooks environment agency

January 18, 2018

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — An advocacy group for environmental protection in New Mexico is highlighting the need to restore funding for the state’s lead environmental agency.

The Environmental Defense Fund said in a report released Thursday that state general fund spending was reduced and never restored to the Department of Environment at the outset of the administration of Gov. Susana Martinez.

Legislative Affairs Director Jon Goldstein says state efforts to protect clean air and water are more important than ever as the Trump administration curbs environmental regulation and enforcement and local oil and natural gas exploration accelerate.

The Legislature has prioritized educational spending increases and recommended no change to the budget allocation for the Environment Department. The agency employs about 600 people and has asked for about $11.4 million in general funds.

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