New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has nominated Joe Martens to serve as commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation.
Martens, who has served as president of the non-profit group the Open Space Institute since 1998, has played a key role in acquiring land for conservation, sustainable development and sustainable farming in the Adirondacks and elsewhere.
He will replace Peter Iwanowitz, who has held the post since late October after Gov. David Paterson dismissed Alexander B. Grannis.
Grannis was fired over a leaked memo condemning the agency’s layoffs. He has since been hired as first deputy comptroller in the office of Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
Martens, who will need to wait for Senate approval to begin his work, previously served as deputy state secretary of energy and the environment from 1992-94 under Cuomo’s father, Gov. Mario Cuomo.
Environmental groups like the National Resources Defense Council have praised Cuomo’s choice to appoint Martens. “Joe Martens’ experience, judgment, and temperament make him the right person at the right time to meet the challenges that DEC faces,” said Ashok Gupta of the NRDC, according to the New York Times. “He has the support and key relationships with the business and environmental community that will allow him to hit the ground running.”
Martens will take over as the DEC works to complete an analysis of the environmental impact of the controversial “hydro-fracking” process in New York State’s Marcellus Shale region.