Kevin Chmielewski knew when he was out at the Environmental Protection Agency. As he told Democratic members of Congress, it was when the former deputy chief of staff refused to retroactively approve a staff member’s first-class travel from Morocco to the United States. Chmielewski, a 38-year-old former Coast Guard member, was placed on administrative leave without pay, later learning from news reports that he had been fired. A staunch Trump supporter, Chmielewski had tangled with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt over spending before: He’d previously dissuaded Pruitt from using EPA funds to contract with a private jet company for $100,000 per month. After his firing, Chmielewski turned whistleblower, meeting with congressional Democrats to detail EPA behaviors that he found to be unethical.
A state House of Representatives panel approved a bill to bar local law enforcement agencies in New Mexico from enforcing federal immigration laws. The bill, which according to a fiscal analysis would prohibit state resources from being used against anyone “whose only violation is being in the United States illegally,” passed on a party line 3-2 vote in the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee. The two “no” votes came from state Reps. Monica Youngblood of Albuquerque and Bob Wooley of Roswell. Both are Republicans.
A dispute between the Susana Martinez administration and environmental groups looks to be nearing a conclusion after more than four years of dispute. Environmental groups, citizens and dairies came to an agreement on Monday on rules governing protection of water. The agreement came just hours into hearings that were scheduled to last through the end of the week. The agreement is between the Citizens Dairy Coalition, which includes environmental groups and citizens who live near dairies, the Dairy Industry Group for a Clean Environment, which represents the dairy industry, the Attorney General and the state Environment Department. The Water Quality Control Commission will consider the agreement at its May meeting.