Martens approved for top DEC post

(NOTE:  This update includes corrected information.)

Joe Martens has been approved by the full NYS Senate, confirmed as DEC commissioner.

This from the Associated Press:

Martens, former head of the Open Space Institute, had been working as the DEC’s acting commissioner since January when he was nominated by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Martens takes over as the agency works to complete an environmental review of hydraulic fracturing to release natural gas from deep shale wells. The study is expected to be finished in June.

Martens was asked during confirmation hearings about proposals to use a more aggressive form of hydro-fracking to extract natural gas from shale rock in New York.  This from the Elmira Star Gazette.

“For over two years, we have been looking at the issue of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, and we are on a schedule to complete that sometime this summer,” Martens said. “The executive order asked us to complete it on or around June 1, and certainly that’s our goal, but we will complete it when I am 100 percent satisfied that it addresses all of the issues.”

State Senator Betty Little (R-Queensbury) backed Martens for the post, despite the fact that his organization — the Open Space Institute — played midwife to some of the biggest land deals in the Adirondacks.

“It is important we have the right people in key positions to lead, especially during this time of fiscal crisis,” said Senator Little in a statement.

“The governor has made a great choice in selecting Joe Martens as DEC Commissioner.  I was pleased to support his nomination and I look forward to working with Joe and his staff in the months ahead on many issues.  Commissioner Martens will do well for all of New York, but I’m very happy we have someone in this position so familiar with the North Country and the Adirondacks.”

Martens also heads the ORDA board of directors and has developed strong connections to local government leaders in the Park.

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2 Comments on “Martens approved for top DEC post”

  1. erb says:

    And yet, last year during a speech at Union College Martens advocated waiting until the completion of the EPA study on hydrofracking to make a decision on permitting in NYS:

    “Of all the daunting environmental challenges that D.E.C. has faced during the past 40 years—criteria pollutants, hazardous waste, acid rain, even climate change— hydrofracking in the Marcellus may be the most difficult and daunting of them all,” the text says.

    Mr. Martens is quoted as adding: “If nothing else, it seems to me, the department should go slow. The tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon operation in the gulf clearly demonstrated that the unexpected can and will happen. It is also clear that the gas industry has not been as candid as it should have been with regards to the potential for problems.”

    “That suggests to me that our fate—and the need to separate objective science and environmental assessment from industry rhetoric—is in D.E.C.’s hands, and the stakes could not be higher,” the text says. “The E.P.A. has initiated a $1.9 million, two-year study of the impact of hydrofracking on health and the environment. What’s the down side of waiting for the results?”


    What might have changed for Joe Martens in one year’s time, hmm?

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  2. Pete Klein says:

    I wonder if there is a good reason for calling the rape of the earth to get gas hydro-fracking.

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