NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION (NJDEP) Commissioner Bob Martin has been a driving force for change in how the NJDEP and the business community work together.
“This year we are completing our second round of customer service training to build on the success of the first round,” explains Commissioner Martin. “Transformation at the NJDEP continues every day, even six-and-a-half years later.”
In addition to implementing customer service initiatives inside the NJDEP, he has supported stakeholder involvement in the remediation of contaminated sites through his support of New Jersey’s Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) Program. LSRPs have been successful in speeding up site cleanups and reducing case backlogs at the NJDEP, and more progress is expected as the program matures in the years ahead.
“Our goal is to promote compliance with the environmental laws of New Jersey,” explains Commissioner Martin. “Of course, we also remain committed to strong enforcement of our environmental laws and regulations when it’s clear that someone does not want to comply. But if we can promote compliance, that’s better for the environment and for the economy.”
Here are Commissioner Martin’s thoughts on some of the important trends and issues that are currently impacting New Jersey businesses, citizens and the state’s environment.
Recycling: “Recycling is a truly handson way for residents, businesses and schools to make a difference in protecting our environment. Recycling not only conserves resources, it conserves energy, saves money for our local governments, and creates jobs and economic development.
I am proud to see the commitment to recycling demonstrated in New Jersey, which has long been the national leader in recycling efforts.”
Charging Stations for Electronic Vehicles: “Electric vehicles can play a critical role in helping to improve our air quality. The NJDEP and BPU’s new grant program [‘It Pays to Plug In’], in addition to the current incentives available in our state, can help improve the affordability of this innovative and proven technology that benefits all New Jersey residents.”
Preventing Zika: “While the presence of the mosquito that carries the Zika virus is extremely rare in New Jersey, we are taking every precaution to protect our residents and visitors from this and other disease-carrying mosquitos. The Christie Administration is committed to providing our county mosquito control partners with the best possible means to monitor and reduce mosquito populations throughout the state.”
The Blue Acres Buyout Program: “The Christie Administration’s effort to protect lives and property from dangerous flooding has not wavered since Superstorm Sandy struck New Jersey. The Blue Acres Buyout Program’s many milestones, including the 500th buyout and more than 800 offers made, demonstrate our ongoing commitment to assist as many residents as possible by helping them leave flood-prone communities in order to improve their quality of life.”
Studying Water Quality in the Navesink River: “The Navesink River is an important recreational resource and provides extremely productive clam beds. The purpose of this study will be to track potential sources that have resulted in shellfish classification downgrades for the river. While the river remains safe for boating, we need to find out why we are seeing increasing levels of bacteria in the water. A healthy river is vital to the quality of life, economy and recreational opportunities for the communities that surround the Navesink.”
Clinging Jellyfish in Monmouth and Ocean County Rivers and Bays: “The NJDEP, working in partnership with Montclair State University, will initially focus on areas where clinging jellyfish have been observed and reported, as well as other bay and river locations where they could conceivably thrive. While the marine environment is one of change, we hope this important study will help us increase our understanding of the presence of clinging jellyfish in these areas and to ultimately better inform the public.”
NJDEP’s Artificial Reef Program: “Artificial reefs create important habitat for many types of marine life, and attract fish that are popular with recreational anglers. Our artificial reefs are an important part of the economy of the Jersey Shore because they are so popular with anglers as well as sport divers. We are grateful to all our partners in the recreational and commercial fishing industries for working with us to get this program back on track.”
AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassadors: “This long-term program helps identify New Jersey’s future environmental leaders and develops their stewardship for our resources. These leaders will be entrusted with the task of protecting New Jersey’s water quality environment through education and by empowering residents to make a difference in their communities through participation in partnership projects.”