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.


Michelle Lujan Grisham

Michelle Lujan Grisham was sworn in as the 32nd Governor of New Mexico on January 1, 2019. Prior to becoming Governor, Lujan Grisham served three terms in Washington on behalf of New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. Previous service to the state included serving as director of the state agency on aging which became a cabinet level agency under her leadership, the Aging and Long-Term Services Department, where she served as the first Cabinet Secretary and later as the Secretary of the state Department of Health. Across her career in state government, she served under three different governors, Republican and Democrat, demonstrating her lifelong emphasis on positive, productive, result-oriented work above all else.

James C. Kenney
Acting Trustee

James C. Kenney serves the State of New Mexico as Acting Natural Resources Trustee and Cabinet Secretary of the Environment Department. His environmental career encompasses over 23 years of public and private sector experience. Mr. Kenney’s public sector experience, prior to the State of New Mexico, includes serving more than 21 years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, most recently as senior policy advisor for oil and gas located in Albuquerque. In this role, he worked with senior agency leadership designing strategies to support environmentally responsible development of oil and natural gas resources while also working with states, tribes, federal agencies and industries on regulatory and policy matters. Previously, he served as a senior environmental engineer with the EPA, leading both civil and criminal investigations related to the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and other EPA statutes and regulations as well as developing strategic compliance and enforcement approaches on oil and natural gas exploration.

In the private sector, Mr. Kenney served as an EPA ozone program manager in Denver, as a senior environmental engineer with Denver-based environmental engineering firm McCoy and Associates. He was also a consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mr. Kenney holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in environmental engineering from Temple University.


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.