Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst, a prominent figure in Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s original cabinet lineup, is stepping down from her role as the head of the state Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department. The Governor’s Office announced this move on Thursday, stating that Cottrell Propst will be pursuing an opportunity “outside of state government.” She will continue in her current position until the end of the year.
Having been part of the governor’s initial cabinet appointments, Cottrell Propst stands out as one of the few who has retained her position since Governor Lujan Grisham’s first term.
In a released statement, the governor praised Cottrell Propst, acknowledging her as an exceptional leader who played a pivotal role in advancing New Mexico’s so-called “clean energy” initiatives.
During her tenure, Cottrell Propst supported initiatives, including the creation of the Energy Transition Act and the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund, both of which received the governor’s backing. Before assuming the role of Cabinet secretary, she served as the deputy secretary of the New Mexico Energy Department from 2006 to 2010. Additionally, she held the position of executive director of the Interwest Energy Alliance, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting renewable energy.
When Cottrell Propst’s appointment was announced in late 2018, Governor Lujan Grisham outlined priorities that included regulating the state’s oil and gas activities while simultaneously carrying out Green New Deal policies.
Lujan Grisham’s administration has been marred by the constant revolving door of officials, including Cabinet secretaries ditching the administration at the highest rates possible.
Cottrell’s exit follows that of Regulation and Licensing Department Superintendent Linda Trujillo, Economic Development Department Secretary Alicia J. Keyes, Aging and Long-Term Services Secretary Katrina Hotrum-Lopez, among countless others throughout the governor’s five-year tenure.