For immediate release: August 5, 2019
Contact: Camilla Feibelman, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter Director
On Monday, the EPA announced the appointment of former oil and gas executive, climate denier and former New Mexico Energy Secretary Ken McQueen as EPA Region 6 administrator. In response, Camilla Feibelman, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter director, said:
“Putting an oil and gas executive like Ken McQueen in charge of our drinking water and the air our children breathe is a dangerous mistake. McQueen has repeatedly proven he will put the interests of oil and gas companies before our health and the bountiful resources that make New Mexico and Southwest unique.
“As Energy Secretary, McQueen neglected to do his duty to protect New Mexico, so of course the Trump administration is failing him upward so he can neglect even more people while he caters to his fellow corporate polluters. McQueen called climate change “just part of the history of the world we live in” and said the methane hotspot over the Four Corners — which scientists have shown is attributable in large part to oil and gas methane leaks and flaring — is due to “natural causes.” He failed to support laws to allow the state to hold oil and gas companies accountable for thousands of safety violations. He even rewarded repeat offender Hilcorp by helping it sneak through rule changes to double the number of dangerous wells in northwest New Mexico without adequate community input – a move that was overturned quickly after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham took office.
“This dangerous appointment makes it all the more important that we put critical measures like methane reductions in place at the state level to protect our families from the polluters this Administration puts first.”