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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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RELEASE: 11/20/00
CONTACT: Raymond E. Cantor


In response to recommendations by the state Inspector General (IG) and other public comments, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will acquire two independent, formal appraisals of open space to be transferred to the state as part of a proposed settlement of wetlands violations involving A. R. DeMarco Enterprises Inc.

"The department will take steps consistent with the IG's recommendations to acquire two independent formal appraisals of the value of the 73 acres to be transferred to the state, as well as the value of the conservation easement to be placed on the 591 acres in Tabernacle Township," said DEP Chief of Staff Gary Sondermeyer.

As recommended by the IG, DEP will create a senior committee to review the proposed settlement in light of the new appraisals, consider the issues raised in the IG's report and in the public comments, and revise the terms of the Administrative Consent Order (ACO) as necessary to ensure public confidence in the outcome and to address any public misconceptions in this matter. The department will take any additional time necessary to obtain new data, and we will not finalize the proposed settlement until a review is complete stated Sondermeyer.

"We're pleased that the Inspector General's fact findings concur with the department's position that there was no undue influence or impropriety in the A.R. DeMarco matter," said Sondermeyer. "To quote his report, 'The fact finding review did not find any evidence that political influence played any part in the settlement terms.' The IG conducted a thorough review of the matter, and we agree that some issues need to be revisited."

DEP Assistant Commissioner Raymond E. Cantor noted that, independent of the Inspector General's investigation, the department has subjected this case to an extensive public review process. DEP followed existing procedures which resulted in full disclosure of the settlement terms and an opportunity for public scrutiny and comment prior to any finalization of the document. Under existing department procedures, the proposed settlement will not become final until after the public comment period, which closed November 13. DEP initially provided a 30-day comment period, then subsequently extended the deadline to afford additional time for public comment and to give ample time for the IG to submit his findings into the public record. DEP has 15 days from the closure of the comment period to notify the company if the department will revise the document.


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