New Mexico’s newly elected Gov. Susana Martinez has nominated former astronaut and U.S. senator Harrison Schmitt as the state’s secretary for Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources. The governor’s announcement follows a decision to dismiss the state’s environmental board tied to a cap-and-trade proposal. Schmitt is charged by the new governor to “harness and develop” energy sources in New Mexico as a means of reviving the state’s sputtering economy and creating new jobs. Schmitt’s nomination is subject to confirmation by state lawmakers. He said he will work with the governor to “enhance New Mexico’s potential” as “a leader in energy and natural resource development.” With an undergraduate degree from the California Institute of Technology and a doctorate degree from Harvard University, Schmitt earned an Air Force jet pilot’s wings in 1965 and Navy helicopter wings two years later. He participated in the National Aeronautical and Space Administration’s scientist-astronaut program beginning in 1965, and provided support for the Apollo 11 mission, before flying into space as part of the Apollo 17 mission. He landed on the Moon Dec. 11, 1972.

New Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has tapped wind energy executive Tanuj “T.J.” Deora to head the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO). Deora replaces a former state legislator, Tom Plant. Deora formerly headed up state and regional policy advocacy efforts for Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy, and in that capacity had focused on promoting an investment-friendly landscape for renewable energy. As head of the GEO, he will be doing some of the same things on behalf of Hickenlooper’s new administration. Before joining Horizon, Deora was a consultant with McKinsey & Co.‘s energy practice in Washington, DC. Earlier he worked for Calpine Corp. and also was an engineer with Dow Chemical Co. Deora holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Texas and a master’s degree from Harvard.

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