Table of Contents
Mission or purpose
NJ Division of Environmental Protection, which was formed in 1970, is responsible for managing natural resources and address pollution problems. With approximately 2,900 employees, NJDEP applies innovative environmental management approaches to mitigate pollution in the state. NJDEP primary mission is to continue as the protector of the air, waters, natural resources and land of New Jersey as a way of ensuring continued public benefit. Through environmental laws, the department is able to advance its mission in addition to improving the health and safety of local residents. NJDEP actions have significant impact on economic growth of the state and by the continued protection of environment is a major strategy that is focused on creating favorable opportunity for investment.
Governor Chris Christie is committed to creating strong and experienced team that serve in the division. As a way of ensuring all parties play their role effectively, NJDEP has established various positions which are occupied by experienced leaders. The commissioner is Bob Martin and has played important duty in shaping environmental policies. Having a bachelor of arts in Economics and sociology, Martin has wide experience in energy and utilities. The Chief Advisor is Ray Cantor, Deputy Commissioner; David Glass, special assistant to the commissioner is Louis Valente while the chief of staff dealing with government affairs is Magdalene Padilla. Under the office of chief advisor, there are other offices including policy advisors, deputy advisor, dispute resolution, economic analysis, deputy advisor and legal affairs. The commissioner is also responsible for overseeing all the departments within the division. These departments include natural and resources, engineering, land use management, water resources management, energy and sustainability, waste management and compliance enforcement. Other key leaders are David Rosenblatt, Richard Boonazian, Virginia Kopkash, Daniel Kennedy, Paul Baldauf, Mark Pedersen and Ray Bukowski.
History of the formation of NJDEP
NJDEP was an outcome of the first Earth Day which was celebrated in April 22, 1970. The state of New Jersey was third in the US in consolidating its environment programs to form a major agency that focused on aggressive protection of environment (Farber & Carlson 18). The first commissioner was Richard Sullivan and was appointed by former Governor William Cahill. Initially, NJDEP had five divisions and 1,400 employees. Over the years, the division has established various programs and units. Major programs include office of the commissioner, air quality, energy and sustainability, compliance and enforcement, engineering and construction, land use management, natural and historic resources, waste management and water resources management.
In its endeavor to protect the environment, NJDEP introduced program priorities and transformation priorities which are followed by all the leaders. For example, under program priorities, the division ensures successful implementation of site remediation reforms and Licensed Site Remediation Professional Program. In addition, it evaluates stream designations and protection of important waters in New Jersey. The transformation priorities include using metrics and making well-grounded decisions that applies customer service principles, identification of non-mission critical functions; establish process for the flow of information, making regulatory reforms in land use permitting programs and use of technology in the approval processes.
An overview of the work of NJ Division of Environmental Protection
As indicated earlier, NJDEP primary role is to solve pollution problems and manage natural resources. The division also has the duty of implementing and enforcing environmental regulations that should be strictly followed by local residents. NJDEP has clear directions that are based on realistic priorities that are outlined by the commissioner and other leaders at the top levels. The division makes decisions that aim at improving the environment of the state in order to generate benefits for the people (Smiddy & Cunningham 57). Wildlife and parks are important resources in New Jersey. Thus, NJDEP is responsible for long-term planning to ensure such treasured assets are maintained and accessible to citizens. To ensure its processes have positive impact on business activities and economic growth of the state, NJDEP undertakes an inspection of business and government agencies. This is done using current data and cost-benefit analysis.
NJDEP success is achieved due to strong teamwork that fosters professional development and diversity. By inviting external stakeholders to play part in environment protection, NJDEP is able to create a strong linkage between all stakeholders, an aspect that makes it to achieve its priorities. The use of economic analysis by the division is one of the key strategies to assess potential environment benefit in addition to measuring advancement of public health (Faure & Niels 27). The division streamlines its operations and mission through the use of information technology.
Court cases involving NJDEP
NJDEP v. Alden Leeds Inc.
In this case, which was decided in 1998, NJDEP was the plaintiff while Alden Leeds Inc. was the respondent. The first major issue that related to this case was whether Air Pollution Control Act N.J.S.A. 26:2C-1 to -25.2) and N.J.A.C. 7:27-5.2(a) that was passed in 1954, imposed strict liability for Alden Leeds stores , a company that released toxic materials to the atmosphere as the result of fire. Secondly, the appeal was based on whether NJDEP was given a notice of the release as required by N.J.S.A. 26:2C-19e. The court held that the Air Pollution Control Act impose penalty and strict liability for the company due to knowingly storing highly reactive chemicals. The court also found that NJDEP commissioner was given a timely notice.
Hackensack Riverkeeper and NY/NJ Baykeeper v. NJDEP
This case, which was decided in 2015, was before judges Tassini, Messano and Ostrer. The appeal was filed by Hackensack Riverkeeper and NY/NJ Baykeeper (appellants). The appellant argued that NJDEP had given itself the role of managing lands held in public trust and this is only the duty of legislature. It was also noted State’s municipalities were the only bodies with the power to manage land resources, and this role is not delegated (Martin & Amanda 26). NJDEP on its part argued that the rules were in line with public trust doctrine. The court indicated that through a master plan could give the legislature authority to public use.
City of Philadelphia v. New Jersey
City of Philadelphia v. New Jersey was a case that occurred in 1978. The background of this case was based on the industrialization of New Jersey, waste processing and waste landfills. To regulate external businesses from using New Jersey waste facilities, the state passed Waste Control Act, which was questioned by City of Philadelphia. The suit which was filed against NJDEP sought an injunction against implementation of the act. The Supreme Court held that the act had positive impact on the health and environmental issues and that there was no discrimination against other states.
My opinion about NJDEP
Given the increased pollution at the global level due to growth of industries, there is need for more agencies to emulate NJDEP. Prior to the establishment of a business, investors should seek the assistance of NJDEP and in particular legal affairs department in order to be aware of the environment laws that guide them in their activities. In my opinion, NJDEP should also widen its awareness campaign. This would entail educating the public on various environment regulations. In the modern times, the division can reach more people through online means. By clearly outlining its priorities and environment regulations, other parties are able to assess their compliance and avoid court suits that may be costly. The strong team of legal experts under the leadership of Ray Cantor has also positively impacted on implementation of business laws within the state.
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- Farber & Carlson. Cases and Materials on Environmental Law. New York; West Academic Publishing, 2013. Print.
- Faure, M & Niels. P. Environmental Law & European Law. The Hague: Eleven International Publishing, 2014. Print.
- Martin, P & Amanda, K. Implementing Environmental Law. New York: Edward Elgar Publishing. 2015. Print.
- NJ Division of Environmental Protection. Available from http://www.nj.gov/dep/about.html
- Smiddy, O & Cunningham, A. Corporations and Other Business Organizations: Cases, Materials, Problems. New York: LexisNexis, 2010. Print.