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DEP touts 2008 accomplishments
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 23 December 2008 01:04


New Jersey participates 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.
From taking bold steps to battle global warming to building solidfoundations for protection of natural resources such as water suppliesand wildlife habitats, the DEP today releases a list of what itconsiders to be "significant strides" toward a greener and moresustainable future for New Jersey's residents.

"At the DEP, we are moving forward on this vision through efforts thatfirmly establish New Jersey as a national leader on evolving 21stcentury issues such as climate change and sustainable development, butremain true to our traditional core responsibilities to protect theenvironment and public health," said DEP Acting Commissioner Mark N.Mauriello.

Accomplishments and objectives include:

Remaining a global warming leader: New Jersey will remain a strongregional and national leader in combating climate change. In additionto having one of the nation's most aggressive greenhouse gas reductionlaws, New Jersey will continue to play a leading role in the RegionalGreenhouse Gas Initiative, a cooperative effort of 10 states in theNortheast and Mid-Atlantic regions to reduce emissions of carbondioxide from power plants.

Last week, New Jersey participated in theinitiative's carbon dioxide credit auction, known as a cap-and-tradeprogram. This program will stabilize carbon dioxide emissions through2014 and reduce emissions 10 percent by 2018.

In addition, the DEPwill hold a series of public meetings in January to solicit input on adraft plan that provides a blueprint for meeting New Jersey'sgreenhouse gas reduction targets.

Providing ample water supplies: The DEP recognizes that abundant and safe water supplies are critical to our quality of life and economicgrowth. In early 2009, the DEP will release a draft Statewide WaterSupply Plan that will serve as a road map for the management,regulation, conservation and development of water supplies.

This majorplan update assesses current use and projected demand for water andrecommends a variety of strategies to protect and most efficiently usewater supplies. Strategies include implementing strong regulatorycontrols at the state level, supporting new or expanded supply sourceswhen needed, encouraging local conservation efforts, and promotingbeneficial reuse of treated wastewater for irrigation and othernon-potable uses.

Protecting natural resources: The DEP adopted major revisions to itsWater Quality Management rules that will bolster agency oversight of sewer service areas, thereby improving water quality and protectingnatural resources.

The rules steer development to areas that haveexisting sewerage systems and prevent this infrastructure from beingbuilt in ecologically sensitive areas such as wetlands, forests andcritical wildlife habitats. The rules also provide for better regional planning by consolidating water quality planning responsibilities atthe county level instead of being done by municipalities and localutility authorities.

Becoming more efficient: The DEP recognizes it needs to review permitsmore expediently in order to be fair to the regulated community and tonot discourage good economic development.

In August, the PermitEfficiency Review Task Force, a panel made up of business andenvironmental leaders, planners and others, released a reportrecommending the DEP simplify the regulatory process, better allocatelimited resources, and improve communications with the public andregulated community.

The DEP immediately began working to implementthe recommendations, and will continue doing so in the coming year.

Cleaning up pollution: The state's commitment to protecting the publicagainst 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 theproduction of pesticides and defoliants, including Agent Orange.

The department's strong stand, including a lawsuit directing responsiblecompanies to develop a cleanup plan, finally resulted in the responsible parties agreeing to remove 200,000 cubic yards of the mosthighly contaminated sediments. The DEP partnered with the federal Environmental Protection Agency in developing the EPA's cleanup plan.


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