CORZINE ADMINISTRATION MAKING GOOD ON PROMISES TO BUILD HEALTHIER, MORE SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FOR THE GARDEN STATE
(08/58) TRENTON -From taking bold steps to battle global warming to building solid foundations for protection of natural resources such as water supplies and wildlife habitats, the administration of Governor Jon S. Corzine is making significant strides toward a greener and more sustainable future for New Jersey’s residents, Department of Environmental Protection acting Commissioner Mark N. Mauriello said today.
“Governor Corzine has a clear vision that recognizes environmental protection and economic development are mutually related goals achieved through strong leadership, sound science and common-sense policies,” Commissioner Mauriello said following Governor Corzine’s year-end assessment of the administration’s achievements and goals.
“At the DEP, we are moving forward on this vision through efforts that firmly establish New Jersey as a national leader on evolving 21st century issues such as climate change and sustainable development, but remain true to our traditional core responsibilities to protect the environment and public health,” Commissioner Mauriello said.
Accomplishments and objectives include:
- Remaining a global warming leader: New Jersey will remain a strong regional and national leader in combating climate change. In addition to having one of the nation’s most aggressive greenhouse gas reduction laws, New Jersey will continue to play a leading role in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cooperative effort of 10 states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants. Last week, New Jersey participated in the initiative’s carbon dioxide credit auction, known as a cap-and-trade program. This program will stabilize carbon dioxide emissions through 2014 and reduce emissions 10 percent by 2018. In addition, the DEP will hold a series of public meetings in January to solicit input on a draft plan that provides a blueprint for meeting New Jersey’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.
- Providing ample water supplies: The DEP recognizes that abundant and safe water supplies are critical to our quality of life and economic growth. In early 2009, the DEP will release a draft Statewide Water Supply Plan that will serve as a road map for the management, regulation, conservation and development of water supplies. This major plan update assesses current use and projected demand for water and recommends a variety of strategies to protect and most efficiently use water supplies. Strategies include implementing strong regulatory controls at the state level, supporting new or expanded supply sources when needed, encouraging local conservation efforts, and promoting beneficial reuse of treated wastewater for irrigation and other non-potable uses.
- Protecting natural resources: The DEP adopted major revisions to its Water Quality Management rules that will bolster agency oversight of sewer service areas, thereby improving water quality and protecting natural resources. The rules steer development to areas that have existing sewerage systems and prevent this infrastructure from being built in ecologically sensitive areas such as wetlands, forests and critical wildlife habitats. The rules also provide for better regional planning by consolidating water quality planning responsibilities at the county level instead of being done by municipalities and local utility authorities.
- Becoming more efficient: The DEP recognizes it needs to review permits more expediently in order to be fair to the regulated community and to not discourage good economic development. In August, the Permit Efficiency Review Task Force, a panel made up of business and environmental leaders, planners and others, released a report recommending the DEP simplify the regulatory process, better allocate limited resources, and improve communications with the public and regulated community. The DEP immediately began working to implement the recommendations, and will continue doing so in the coming year.
- Cleaning up pollution: The state’s commitment to protecting the public against pollution is demonstrated by the DEP’s unwavering insistence that polluters finally clean up sediments in the lower Passaic River contaminated with dioxin, an extremely toxic chemical once used in the production of pesticides and defoliants, including Agent Orange. The department’s strong stand, including a lawsuit directing responsible companies to develop a cleanup plan, finally resulted in the responsible parties agreeing to remove 200,000 cubic yards of the most highly contaminated sediments. The DEP partnered with the federal Environmental Protection Agency in developing the EPA’s cleanup plan.