Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department  Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst to depart administration  

Cottrell Propst leaves legacy of historic environmental progress and energy diversification 

November 9, 2023 – Press Release from the Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

SANTA FE – Today, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the departure of New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst, who has played a crucial role in advancing the state’s environmental, energy and economic goals.  

“Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst has been an exceptional leader who has played a pivotal role in advancing our state’s clean energy initiatives and environmental stewardship,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “Her dedication and vision have been instrumental in shaping New Mexico’s future, and I’m grateful for her outstanding work in service of a brighter future. I wish her the very best in her future endeavors.” 

Secretary Cottrell Propst was among Gov. Lujan Grisham’s initial cabinet appointments, announced in December 2018 before taking office in January 2019. During her tenure, she has been a driving force behind New Mexico’s expanding clean energy economy and the responsible stewardship of natural resources.  

“Serving New Mexico under Gov. Lujan Grisham’s leadership has been a privilege, and I’m proud of our state’s expanding clean energy economy and stewardship of natural resources,” said Secretary Cottrell Propst. “Our state parks are gems, our forest conservation and firefighters are second-to-none, and our industry oversight is responsible and transparent.” 

Over the last five years, New Mexico’s energy economy has thrived under Gov. Lujan Grisham’s leadership. Secretary Cottrell Propst led negotiations on the Energy Transition Act in 2019, charting New Mexico’s path toward zero-carbon electricity over the next two decades. Last year, renewable resources provided 42% of New Mexico’s in-state generation. This year, the state broke ground on the SunZia Wind and Transmission project, the largest clean energy infrastructure project in U.S. history.  

While providing oversight to the oil and gas industry during historic levels of production, New Mexico worked with industry and the public to enact nation-leading natural gas capture requirements and eliminate routine venting and flaring – both crucial steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Research published this week shows that these rules have resulted in New Mexico having only half the emissions of Texas, where the industry is far less regulated.  

In 2023, Secretary Cottrell Propst led a bipartisan coalition to establish the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund, the state’s first permanent source of conservation funding. During her tenure, the State Parks system expanded to 35, with Pecos Canyon State Park and Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park now welcoming visitors. 

Secretary Cottrell Propst’s last day will be December 31, before starting a new position outside of state government. The administration is actively seeking candidates for the position of EMNRD Secretary.