Who is the Natural Resources Trustee?

State Natural Resource Trustees are appointed by the governor of each state. In addition to state trustees, the President of the United States and Native American tribes appoint federal and tribal trustees. New Mexico frequently shares trust responsibilities for natural resources with other Trustees.


Susana Martinez

Susana Martinez was sworn in as Governor of New Mexico on January 1, 2011, and became both the first woman to hold the position in New Mexico and the first Hispanic woman in U.S. history to serve as a state’s Governor. Prior to becoming Governor, Martinez served for 14 years as the District Attorney for the 3rd Judicial District in Doña Ana County, New Mexico.

Butch Tongate

Butch Tongate was appointed to the position of Natural Resources Trustee by Governor Susana Martinez on September 12, 2016.  He also serves as the Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) where he previously served as Deputy Secretary for five years.  In his 23 years at the NMED, Mr. Tongate served in various leadership positions including Occupational Safety and Solid Waste management. Mr. Tongate received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master of Science degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California.

Ralph Gruebel
Executive Director

Ralph Gruebel joined the Office of Natural Resources Trustee as Executive Director in November 2018.  He previously served New Mexico as a Director of the Environment Department’s Environmental Protection Division and most recently as Compliance and Enforcement Section Chief of the Department’s Air Quality Bureau.  His private and public sector environmental experience ranges from environmental site assessments to nuclear waste management and site characterization at US Department of Energy facilities.  Mr. Gruebel holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology from the University of Houston and a Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of New Mexico.