DEP ACTING COMMISSIONER TESTIFIES BEFORE THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
(10/P15) TRENTON -New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Bob Martin delivered the following testimony at his confirmation hearing today before the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee:
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:
I want to thank you for having me here today to discuss my candidacy to be the next Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection. I thank all the members of the committee who took the time to meet with me either in person or by phone. I want to also thank Governor Christie for his confidence in nominating me for this distinguished position.
I am very excited about taking on this position…and if confirmed, I will work to advance DEP’s core mission of protecting and preserving the environment of NJ. At the same time I will help the DEP fulfill its role in growing the economy of this state.
I am personally committed to ensuring that the DEP protects our water, air, ocean, natural resources and beaches, and that we rapidly clean up contaminated sites and ensure we have plenty of open space for future generations.
I bring an extensive array of skills and experience to help protect the environment and natural resources of the state, while significantly improving the operation and performance of the DEP. DEP desperately needs leadership, management and direction….and I will bring them that. DEP also needs continuous operational improvements and more technology to be an effective organization to get permits processed quickly, inspections done more timely and to bring predictability and efficiency to all its programs. I bring over 25 years of experience consulting to numerous types of businesses and industries. Most of my consulting work has been in the utility and energy industry. I have extensive experience in all aspects of business and management consulting, including business strategy & planning, business transformation & re-engineering, IT strategy, systems implementation and change management. I have a pragmatic style and I’m focused on results. I’m also focused on communications, transparency and have a willingness to listen to all points of view.
While my resume in strong on management skills, my knowledge of environmental issues and policy is also quite strong. While I was not an environmental consultant, my 25 years in the utility and energy industry gave me extensive knowledge of air, water and land use issues. In addition, I have extensive experience bringing together differing points of view and stakeholder groups toward resolving complex issues. Taken together, I firmly believe my managerial skills within a large international organization and my extensive involvement with environmental issues have prepared me well to lead the DEP.
I was also the primary advisor to Governor Christie for both his Environmental policy and Green Energy policy. These policies included growing “Green Industries and Jobs” significantly, including building Wind Turbines and Solar panels manufacturing facilities here in NJ, while leveraging the State’s outstanding port facilities, protecting NJ’s clean water, protecting our shores, beaches and ocean, and working to ensure Environmental Justice in all our communities.
I take my responsibilities as Acting Commissioner very seriously and, if confirmed will continue to do so throughout my tenure at DEP. I will enforce the environmental laws of this state to protect the health and safety of all our citizens. At the same time, we must change the way DEP operates.
DEP is broken and needs to be fixed. I have spoken to most of you on the Judiciary Committee and most of you have shared your “DEP stories”…stories of your challenges and your constituents’ frustrations in dealing with DEP. We must and we will make dramatic changes to how we fundamentally do business at the DEP. I reject the premise that we must choose between a healthy environment and a vibrant economy. We can have both with the right leadership and our resolve to changing the old paradigm.
While I have learned a lot over the past 8 weeks at DEP, I recognize I still have a very steep learning curve to get over….and I’m eager to learn and work with the members of the legislature and the committees that deal with issues affecting our department.
My commitment to all of you in the legislature and the DEP stakeholders, including the environmental community and the business community, is that while we may not always agree…I will always listen and my door is always open.
I look forward with working with all of you over the next four years and addressing your questions here this afternoon.