DEP helps environment by focusing on outcomes

Regarding the Nov. 14 guest commentary by Kelly Mooij, “Murphy administration should reverse DEP cutbacks”:

New Jersey Audubon lobbyist Kelly Mooij paints a misleading picture of how effectively the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is carrying out our mission. Mooij’s false assertions demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of how DEP operates to protect New Jersey’s air, water, land and natural and historic resources. Mooij focused on administrative process and widget-counting, rather than actual outcomes in the real world.

Is New Jersey’s air cleaner? Is our water cleaner? Are contaminated sites being cleaned up at a faster rate than ever before? Is additional open space being preserved — and in areas that need it most, like our urban centers? Are once-declining species populations coming back? The answer to all of these questions is yes, but the examples are too numerous to detail here. The data can be reviewed on the DEP website.

The environmental and public health issues New Jersey faces today are not the same as they were when DEP was established in 1970, or even just 10 years ago. Our response to challenges in the past afforded us large environmental gains because those problems had never been addressed before. Today, DEP has adapted to keep pace with current and future conditions by focusing on outcome vs. processes, and by maintaining staff resources in the critical areas that protect public health and safety, and conserve and protect our air, water, land, and natural and historic resources.

Robert Geist

Press director, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Trenton

Special interests rule US

Democracy infers a government by the people, especially rule of the majority. In America, we elect representatives to presumably craft laws consistent with the desires of the majority of citizens while protecting the rights of minorities consistent with the Constitution.

The majority of citizens desire reasonable gun control legislation. Their representatives in Congress, controlled by Republicans, refuse to pass additional gun control legislation.

I think most citizens would oppose many aspects of the present tax reform legislation, written by the Republican majority in Congress. I think it is heavily skewed toward enhancing the wealthiest members of the population at the expense of an ever-shrinking middle class. Most folks favor preserving much of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, while the Republican majority in Congress yearns to repeal much of it.

Perhaps this democratic nation is ruled by special interests that pay the politicians in power to do their bidding. Perhaps America is fast becoming a plutocracy, a nation ruled by the wealthy.

Lawrence Uniglicht

Galloway Township