Speaker Bio

James C. Kenney, the Secretary of NMED, has spent more than 21 years across two stints at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, most recently as senior policy advisor for oil and gas. In that role, he worked with senior agency leadership and designed strategies to support environmentally responsible development of oil and natural gas resources while working with states, tribes, federal agencies and industries on regulatory and policy matters.

Kenney has also served as a senior environmental engineer at the EPA, leading both civil and criminal investigations related to the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and other EPA statutes and regulations as well as developing strategic compliance and enforcement approaches on oil and natural gas exploration.
Kenney holds both bachelor s and master s degrees in environmental engineering from Temple University.


As the effects of climate change continue to impact our state, the New Mexico Environment Department stands ready to address the challenges our precious water resources face.

The mission of the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) is to protect and restore the environment and to foster a healthy and prosperous New Mexico for present and future generations. This is accomplished through using the best available science to inform decision-making; using innovation by employing creative engineering and technological solutions to address environmental challenges; engaging communities and stakeholders through collaboration; and ensuring meaningful compliance with state regulations and permits.

In the last year, we have taken significant steps toward ensuring the state s waters are protected, including:

  • Releasing a Climate Strategy document through the New Mexico Interagency Climate Change Task Force in November 2019.

  • Forming the Produced Water Research Consortium along with New Mexico State University

  • Fighting the federal government s Navigable Water Protection Rule, which will have devastating effects on our water resources

  • Funding water conservation and reuse projects with our Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund

Through our programs, policies and practices, the New Mexico Environment Department is working to ensure New Mexico s waters are preserved and protected for present and future generations.

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