NEW YORK, NY — January 4, 2011— The Open Space Institute applauds Governor Andrew Cuomo in nominating OSI President Joe Martens as the new Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Martens has been at OSI since 1995, first as Executive Vice President, then as President.
“Joe's lifelong experience of fighting to protect and preserve our environment will bring the highest level of stewardship to our state's beautiful natural resources. Joe knows how to strike the critical balance between defending our natural resources from pollution and destruction while at the same time fostering a climate of economic renewal and growth. His experience and record as a competent and productive manager will breathe life into this vital agency.” Governor Cuomo said.
“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work for the Open Space Institute” said Martens. “OSI has an extraordinary board and staff and they have achieved conservation milestone after milestone over the years. I look forward to watching the organization grow and prosper under Kim Elliman and John Adams’ leadership.”
At the Open Space Institute, Martens’ tenure in land protection was unrivaled. In the last 16 years, OSI has completed over 400 transactions, resulting in the protection of more than 86,000 acres in New York State. Some of Martens’ achievements include the protection of the 10,000-acre Tahawus property in the Adirondacks, Franklin Roosevelt’s Top Cottage, and most recently the 2,350-acre Camp Little Notch in the Adirondacks. Martens also spearheaded OSI’s involvement to assist the Nature Conservancy in protecting the 161,000-acre Finch Pryun land in the Adirondacks.
“Joe’s dedication to New York State is unbeatable, and Governor Cuomo has made an excellent choice. Joe is insightful and creative, which is so critical now at this time of economic stress coupled with major environmental issues,” remarked John Adams, Chairman of OSI. “Congratulations to the DEC – Joe is one of the finest people we’ve ever worked with.”
As Commissioner of DEC, Martens will be charged with conserving, improving and protecting New York's natural resources and environment, and preventing, abating and controlling water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being.
“This move to DEC is the logical culmination of Joe’s entire career,” said Kim Elliman, CEO of OSI. “Working with former Governor Mario Cuomo, the Adirondack Park Agency, the New York State Office of Budget, and ORDA, Joe is perfectly placed to meet 21st century environmental challenges, including the interplay between public and private conservation, and private and public sector interests. Joe’s career has a win-win track record for both conservation and local economic opportunity. With Joe going to DEC, both OSI and I are losing a dear friend, but New York is gaining a committed advocate. Governor Cuomo’s appointment of Joe shows his serious dedication to New York’s environment. ”
OSI will continue to protect the fields, farms, forests and water of New York State, and build upon its 40 years of land conservation here. “Joe leaves OSI in the strongest possible position of any land trust in the country and we thank him for that,” said Adams. “Going forward, OSI won’t let down the Martens legacy,” added Elliman.