SANTA FE – Gov. Susana Martinez has appointed Ken McQueen, a former vice president of Oklahoma-based WPX Energy, as secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.
The retired oil and natural gas executive started the job on Tuesday, succeeding David Martin, who retired five months ago.
McQueen, a petroleum engineer, worked in the industry for 35 years and managed the company’s assets in northwestern New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.
“With his extensive knowledge and experience in the engineering field, I’m confident that he will responsibly manage our natural resources, which are so important to our state,” the governor said in a news release.
McQueen, 61, retired this year after 14 years as the Tulsa company’s vice president for the San Juan Basin region.
He is an adjunct professor at the University of Tulsa’s School of Petroleum Engineering, where he got his degree.
The governor said McQueen will be in charge of implementing parts of her “all of the above” energy plan – an array of strategies including oil and gas as well as wind and solar – and will help develop the planned cross-state Rio Grande Trail.
Conservation Voters New Mexico said in a statement that there has been “widespread concern” about the amount of influence the oil and gas industry has over the Republican governor’s administration, and appointing an industry executive to the regulatory post is “just another action that makes Gov. Martinez’s allegiance clear.”