Cuomo nominates Martens to head DEC

"He knows the place where we live," Sayward said. "He'll certainly have good awareness of the balance we need between the environment and economic development. Joe will do a good job."

Sayward's colleague in the Assembly, Janet Duprey, was a little more guarded in her reaction to Martens' nomination.

She says his background in preserving open space in the park gives her pause, but she believes his work with ORDA will balance that out. Like Sayward, Duprey is glad that Cuomo picked someone who knows the North Country.

"When we talk to him about issues facing Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, AuSable Forks, or Newcomb, he's going to know what we're talking about," she said. "I think that's a plus."

Duprey adds that Martens has some difficult work ahead of him.

"With the cuts in personnel that DEC has taken over the past year - they're not going to be able to do much more in terms of open space," she said.

Betsy Lowe is director of DEC Region 5 in Ray Brook. She says Martens nomination is great news for the agency.

"The experience, demeanor and diplomacy he brings to the table will be valuable," she said.

Officials from the environmental community are thrilled with Cuomo's pick. Neil Woodworth from the Adirondack Mountain Club called the governor's pick a - quote - "wise choice."

Adirondack Council spokesman John Sheehan says Martens will do an outstanding job, noting he works well with competing interests.

"He's been a positive influence on ORDA as chairman, and he did a splendid job as chairman of the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation when he was in charge of that," Sheehan said. "We're confident that his experience with the Open Space Institute will only enhance his capabilities and that he'll make a fine commissioner."

Even traditional foes of the DEC and the state Adirondack Park Agency are applauding Cuomo's selection. Adirondack Local Government Review Board Executive Director Fred Monroe says he's known Martens for more than two decades and has found him to be both reasonable and helpful.

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