rap #151 08/04/10
FREEHOLDER VICARI & DEP COMMISSIONER BOB MARTIN
MEET IN TOMS RIVER TO DISCUSS ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS
ECONOMIC GROWTH must be balanced with environmental safeguards if Ocean County's beaches and bays are to be preserved for future generations, agreed
Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari and state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin.
Vicari and Martin met for nearly an hour in the Freeholder's Toms River office on Wednesday to discuss the Barnegat Bay, ocean water quality, the
DEP's permitting process and other issues vital to the local community.
"Commissioner Martin is a total professional and an outstanding leader for the DEP," Vicari said. "He understands the difficult issues we face in
Calling the Barnegat Bay "The lifeblood of Ocean County," Vicari said tourism and commercial concerns must be balanced with the vital need to
protect the bay.
"We agreed to work together to preserve the environment while still allowing growth and new employment," Vicari said.
Vicari also had the opportunity to discuss some of the county's leading environmental initiatives, including its "going green" campaign.
"We were the first county in New Jersey to complete an energy master plan," he said. "Our ongoing program of adding solar energy panels and tubes
to county buildings goes hand-in-hand with the state's commitment to alternative energy sources.
Both Vicari and Martin renewed their joint opposition to oil and gas drilling off the New Jersey Shore while praising the value of offshore wind
The commissioner also discussed the DEP's permitting process, where state officials work closely with applicants to ensure that permits are
reviewed and processed in a timely manner.
He also explained how his office closely monitored the Gulf oil spill to make sure it would not have an impact on the New Jersey coastline.
Martin said the informal meeting was part of his "open door" policy where he reaches out to the public, business leaders and elected officials.
"It was a pleasure to be here in Ocean County," he said. "I understand the importance of tourism here and the DEP will do whatever it can to
protect the Shore's natural resources while still ensuring that our residents and visitors can enjoy our beaches, bays and ocean."
Martin said representatives from his office will be returning to the county in the coming weeks to continue discussions on the bay and other