Thursday, May 13, 2010

NJDEP Commissioner briefs state lawmakers

 Bob Martin - DEP photo

New Jersey’s Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin appeared before the Senate Environment and Energy Committee this morning to report on what the agency is up to and where it’s headed.
Martin reviewed major staff changes at his department  and ticked off  a list of recent activities and accomplishments, including:

  • DEP’s assumption of oversight of the cleanup of tritium leaking from the Oyster Creek nuclear plant in Lacey Township
  • “Adamant” opposition to offshore drilling
  • Continued opposition to offshore LNG facilities
  • Formal petition calling on the EPA to investigate and take action to curb air emissions at RRI’s Portland power plant in Pennsylvania  which blow over to New Jersey’s Warren County
  • Keeping state parks open this summer and maintaining critical functions at the department despite budget cuts
  • Continued opposition to Army Corps of Engineers dredging of the Delaware River.  Martin said that, if Pennsylvania wants the river dredged, it should accept the resulting dredge spoils. Under the current plan, all spoils will be dumped in New Jersey. 
  • Working on legislation to help the financing of offshore wind energy projects.  Martin said the only way the economics for such projects makes sense is if New Jersey also gets the manufacturing  (turbines) associated with the project.
  • Stakeholder meetings already held or pending on
      -- Coastal access
      -- Water Quality
     -- CAFRA rules
     -- Barnegat Bay and Oyster Creed nuclear generating plant
     -- Highlands

The commissioner listed the department’s three short-term priorities as:
  • Retrofitting diesel engines
  • Environmental justice issues
  • “Dying” Barnegat Bay and Oyster Creek nuclear plant

In response to a question from a member of the committee, Martin said he expects the state will hold a one-week bear hunt in December.  He noted that the number of  bears “harvested” during that week will be closely monitored and the hunt could be stopped if it appeared to be resulting in over-harvesting .
Martin is scheduled to make a  similar presentation this afternoon before the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.

Environmental bills this week in NJ Legislature
Exelon forced to clean up tritium leak 
DEP wants EPA to cut pollution at Portland Generating Station

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