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DEP Says Sandy Recovery Going Well

Next week marks six months since Superstorm Sandy hit New Jersey.  So, just how has the recovery been going?  One state official updates Ocean County Mayors on the status of things.

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin (Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ)

While there’s been a tremendous amount of progress made, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin says we’re not there yet.  Martin was the keynote speaker at Tuesday’s monthly breakfast meeting of the Ocean County Mayors Association.  Martin outlined the key priorities the department is currently dealing with – from debris removal in our waterways to protecting the shore area from future storms.

Martin stresses the importance of the Army Corps dune project, which is now being held up by the lack of signed easements.  Martin explains “it’s absolutely necessary for us to build a full coastal protection system.  The Army Corps requires us to get them the necessary permissions so they can have access to the sand.  The project is DOA if these things hold it up.”

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin shakes hands with Brick Mayor Steve Acropolis as Ocean County  Freeholder Joe Vicari looks on
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin shakes hands with Brick Mayor Steve Acropolis as Ocean County Freeholder Joe Vicari looks on (Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ)

During the past few weeks, we’ve heard lots of rumbles about the possibility of using eminent domain to force the stubborn beach front property owners to grant them access to the critical task.  Over in Mantoloking, they have hired an attorney to institute condemnation proceedings against the handful of holdouts who won’t sign.

The DEP is currently focusing attentions on moving houses, cars and sand from the Barnegat Bay.  Towns have until May 1st to submit those signed easements but they are willing to grant extensions if need be.

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