Praise for Martin pick at DNR; Obama Colorado College connection continues

Members of Colorado’s environmental community liked the selection Monday by Gov. Bill Ritter of Jim Martin, head of the Department of Public Health and Environment, to take over for Harris Sherman as executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“Martin’s leadership on the state air commission was essential to cutting mercury pollution 90 percent from coal-fired power plants in 2007,” Environment Colorado advocate Matt Garrington said in a statement. “As head of the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, Martin was key to protecting our drinking water and making sure oil and gas development is done right.”

Martin got his undergrad degree in biology from Knox College in Illinois and his law degree from Northwestern School of Law, Lewis and Clark College, in Oregon. But Sherman, the man Martin replaces at DNR (confirmed earlier this month by the Senate as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary for natural resources and environment), is a 1964 graduate of Colorado College.

The Colorado College connection is becoming a noteworthy one in the Obama administration, with a half dozen CC grads assuming significant roles. Last week, Marcia Kemper McNutt (Class of ’74) was confirmed by the Senate as the first female director of the U.S. Geological Survey, and Sherman was confirmed the week before.

McNutt will also serve as a special science advisor to CC grad and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar (Class of ’77), who, interestingly, is also a former head of the Colorado DNR.

Other CC grads in key roles include Jane Lubchenco (Class of ’69), administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Lori Garver (Class of ’83), deputy administrator of NASA; and Aaron Gutierrez (Class of ’08), intern in the office of legislative affairs at the White House. Gutierrez, of Pueblo, is a brain cancer survivor.

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