Thursday, April 1, 2010

NJ recyclers get bad & good news from DEP

A bad economy and political uncertainty probably deserve some of the credit for the record crowd that attended Association of New Jersey Recyclers (ANJR) annual meeting yesterday at the Rutgers EcoComplex in Burlington County.

ANJR's members include the folks who plan and operate municipal and county recycling programs across New Jersey and the hundreds of private businesses that collect, process and market recyclable materials--from paper, glass and aluminum to metal, concrete and wood.

ANJR Annual Meeting - Mar 31 2010 001 - Copy

The association’s public-sector members have been worrying about New Jersey's monumental budget problems. They’ve been wondering how funding reductions might effect their programs--and maybe even their jobs.
ANJR's private-industry members, still reeling from the prolonged economic slowdown, also have been wondering how Governor Chris Christie's budget cuts will affect the programs on which they rely to supply a portion of their raw materials.

And both sectors also have been waiting for signs of how the shift from the Democratic Corzine administration to the Republican Christie administration might impact policy and operations at the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) which oversees recycling in New Jersey.

Yesterday, they got some answers--bad and good--from DEP commissioner,
Bob Martin. He's the retired business executive who has been at the helm of environmental agency for nine weeks.
In that time, he has assigned himself the ambitious task of reorienting the slow-moving and penalty-oriented bureaucracy into a streamlined, customer-friendly organization that makes quick decisions based on sound science, incorporates a simplified, common-sense permitting process and views a revitalized state economy as part of its mission.

The bad news for recyclers Martin told the crowd of more than 250 that the state's financial crisis had led to a decision to transfer $7 million from the state Recycling Fund to the state's General Fund to help balance the FY 2010-2011 budget. That transfer amounts to some 25-30 percent of the total funds that towns and counties rely upon to fund their recycling programs.

501 What's the good news? Martin said that he and Governor Christie are committed to recycling as part of the growth of a "green economy" for New Jersey.
He pledged to fight to maintain full funding for the program in the 2012 state budget.

The commissioner went on to discuss his vision for the DEP. His priorities include: fixing a broken regulatory process, updating the department's technology (which he called the 'enemy of bureaucracy'), implementing a successful Licensed Site Remediation Professionals program, stimulating 'green energy' and protecting the state's clean drinking water supplies and beaches.

ANJR President Dominick D'Altilio said he viewed Martin's appearance at the meeting as "a sign that the Administration recognizes the role that recycling plays in creating jobs and economic activity in New Jersey."

Editor’s Note: ANJR is a government-relations client of our
sister company, Brill Public Affairs

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