Senate confirms Martens as DEC commissioner

A man with strong ties to the Olympic region was confirmed as the commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation this week.

The Republican controlled state Senate unanimously confirmed Joe Martens Tuesday, who was nominated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take the helm at the DEC earlier this year.

Martens has served as president of the Open Space Institute and chairman of the state Olympic Regional Development Authority's Board of Directors - he's been working as acting commissioner since January.

Officials from across the North Country have lauded Cuomo for selecting Martens as DEC commissioner. Leaders like state Senator Betty Little and Assemblywomen Teresa Sayward and Janet Duprey say Martens understands the issues facing the Adirondack Park.

In February, North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi said having Martens in Albany benefits the North Country.

Robert Moore with the green group Environmental Advocates of New York commended Gov. Cuomo and the Senate for choosing a "proven" environmental leader for the post.

The DEC has suffered repeated cuts in recent years, and Martens takes over as the agency continues working on an environmental review of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

Meanwhile, the Senate also unanimously confirmed Rose Harvey as the new commissioner of the state Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation.

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