SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A fourth-quarter update for New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has been released. The report is for the fiscal year 2022 (FY22).

The purpose of the report is to allow anyone outside of the department to take a look at the efforts of the department in protecting New Mexico’s health and environment. The fourth-quarter period ran from April 1, 2022, to June 30, 2022. The information covered in the report included public health measures, environmental protection measures, compliance measures, economic investment measures, and operational measures.

NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney explained the department has influence over food, water, air, workplaces, and the economy in New Mexico, “This performance assessment report provides a great snapshot on the important work we perform every day across New Mexico. And while we had many successes last fiscal year, our primary impediment to doing more to protect public health and the environment is budget. I am extremely proud of our employees who continue to make a difference in the lives New Mexicans on a daily basis.”

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According to the report, 98% of New Mexico residents were able to breathe clean air throughout all of FY22, and 89% of residents drank safe drinking water throughout that same time period. As far as waste management and water treatment, NMED spent $31.6 million on managing projects in those fields.

The report said 114 new water infrastructure projects were created during FY22, and that exceeded their goal by 34%. There were a total of 8,916 inspections, but the department’s goal was 10,370. The organization said they refocused their staff towards wildfire and flood response, which is why they didn’t meet their goal.

The department’s Surface Water Bureau was able to reduce 800,000 pounds of runoff into rivers and streams, which means they doubled their goal by 400,000 pounds. Around $2.4 million was collected by the agency in civil penalties. The money was put into the general fund, the department said.