The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has appointed Ron Curry, a former New Mexico Environment Department official, as the new regional administrator of Region Six of the EPA. That area covers Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico.
In an email to StateImpact Texas, a spokesperson for Region Six of the EPA says that “will provide valuable insight into the public health and environmental challenges facing Region Six, and will be able to offer a state’s perspective within the Agency.”
Curry served as Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department from January 2003 thru December 2010.
Tom “Smitty” Smith, the Texas director of Public Citizen, an environmental group, says that his group is happy with the decision. “Ron Curry is a great pick to take over EPA’s top job in region six,” Smith says in an email. “He was one of two people endorsed by the environmental community back when Obama first took office and the EPA was looking for nominees. He is a smart, politically seasoned, tough and fair administrator who was liked by both business and the environmental community when he ran New Mexico’s environmental agency.”
Curry is the first New Mexican to lead the regional EPA office, according to New Mexico Democratic Senator Tom Udall. In a statement, Udall says he “applauds” the decision and that Curry is a “pragmatic thinker.”
Update: Al Armendariz, the former regional chief that Curry is replacing, says in an interview at the Texas Tribune Festival that he also applauds the selection. “I do know Ron,” Armendariz says, according to the Tribune. “Ron Curry is I think a fantastic selection by the [EPA] Administrator. … Ron is pragmatic, he’s very smart, he understands the need for conservation and the need for economic development.”