On Thursday, May 14, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Mark Mauriello updated the mayors on environmental issues. The commissioner noted that his department, like others in state government, has to make do with reduced resources. To deal with a backlog of remediation cases Mauriello said that the agency is looking at a successful program in Massachusetts that licenses private contractors to investigate sites and provide remediation plans. If the program is adopted DEP would audit those contractors while maintaining direct control over particularly sensitive projects. Addressing federal economic stimulus funds, the commissioner said the DEP will be dispensing $150 million for clean water projects and another $40 million plus specifically for drinking water programs. Mauriello introduced David Rosenblatt, administrator of the DEP’s Office of Engineering and Construction, who described current beach replenishment efforts. In the Q&A Mauriello advocated a long term approach to shore protection and a rethinking of methods now used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Noting that the cost of beach replenishment is increasing while federal financial support is declining, the commissioner said “New Jersey may have to go it alone.”

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