EPA boss recused from $6 million decison on NM’s Environment Dept

By Rob Nikolewski on June 20, 2013
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It appears the former Secretary of the who is now an administrator for the federal government’s will not be making the decision as to whether the state must  return nearly $6 million to the EPA.

In an e-mail to , a spokesman for the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General says  has recused himself from the case.

Ron Curry, Region 6 Administrator for the EPA

On Wednesday (June 19), New Mexico Watchdog reported the NMED may have to return $5.99 million after a report from the  EPA’s Inspector General declared the NMED didn’t follow federal requirements when it paid employees for carrying out work for a series of EPA-funded grants in cases ranging from 2004 to 2012.

The EPA’s decision to disallow the $6 million and force New Mexico to return the money will rest in large part by a decision by the EPA’s Region 6 Administrator. (Region 6 is made up of five states, including New Mexico.)

The Region 6 Administrator is Curry.

But Curry used to be the secretary for the NMED between 2003 and 2010, which overlaps the time of the Inspector General’s audit.

So if Curry were to make the determination about the $6 million in question, he would, in essence, be auditing himself.

When asked about this potential conflict of interest, the spokesman for the EPA Inspector General’s Office in an e-mail to New Mexico Watchdog on Thursday wrote:

The Regional Administrator (Curry) had previously recused himself due to his past association with the NMED.  Therefore, to abide by his recusal, the Regional Administrator then delegated the preparation of the final determination to the Assistant Regional Administrator. 

The e-mail did not provide the name of the Assistant Regional Administrator who may well determine if the NMED — and by extension, New Mexico taxpayers — must return the $6 million.

The Region 6 office is required to issue a decision on the case by October 15.

Click here to read the details of New Mexico Watchdog’s story on the $6 million at stake.

Contact Rob Nikolewski at and reach him on Twitter at @nmwatchdog

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3 Comments For This Post So Far

  1. L.E. Liesner
    2:55 pm on June 20th, 2013

    Wonder how much of that money got stuck to Dollar Bill’s sticky fingers. When you elect corrupt politicians, you expect this kind of things. Someone said that after Dollar Bill leaves office it will cost the State of New Mexico around ten billion dollars to pay for his corruption. Looks like the dollar amount is building up.

  2. Brian
    3:06 pm on June 20th, 2013

    So, which enumerated power under Article 1 section 8 would the EPA be authorized?

    The premise of the commerce clause was to break down trade barriers between states, not as a general grant of power to the federal government. The same was said about the general welfare clause, not a general grant of power.

  3. Chuck
    4:24 pm on June 20th, 2013

    Looks like curry took a powder.

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