On Tuesday, May 19, 2015, we hosted MassDEP Commissioner Marty Suuberg and MassDEP’s Central Region leadership team for a program and panel discussion at our Worcester office, presented by the Environmental Business Council of New England (EBC). The breakfast meeting drew many familiar faces from EBC and the Worcester area, and provided a great opportunity for informal discussions on MassDEP’s many programs with Commissioner Suuberg, Central Region Director Lee Dillard Adams, and the key deputy directors at the Central Regional office of MassDEP.
In his presentation, Commissioner Suuberg noted two new initiatives, both previously announced. First, the Office of Municipal Partnerships and Governmental Affairs. This office provides a point-of-contact for municipalities and local officials and coordinates outreach and user-friendly assistance to groups that do business with MassDEP. Commissioner Suuberg introduced Beth Riportella, who heads this office. Ms. Riportella is the former Deputy Chief of Staff for MassDEP and will continue to serve as Legislative Director for MassDEP.
Second, the Office of Permit and Regulatory Ombudsman and Special Projects. This office will serve as point-of-contact for large and complex projects, including those requiring permits, approvals or review by more than one bureau or regional office within MassDEP, and inquiries from citizens regarding permitting issues or questions about how law, policy and regulations are being applied. The Ombudsman will also gather information about claims and inquires, ensure a timely and comprehensive review by MassDEP, and document how the claims and inquiries were addressed and ensure publication of the results of the review to increase awareness of how MassDEP addresses these issues. The office will be directed by Kathleen Kerigan, formerly an environmental engineer with GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc., who was also at our meeting.
Lastly, Commissioner Suuberg commented on the current uncertainty and anticipated review of MassDep’s regulations as mandated by Governor Baker’s Executive Order 562. Direction on the scope of that review is expected in a few weeks, and if regulatory change is needed, the Commissioner said, “it is best with stakeholder involvement.” Commissioner Suuberg also noted that the draft reclamation soils policy, that includes a program for the reclamation of quarries, sand pits and gravel pits will be going back out for comment, but nonetheless is expected to go final before the end of June as called for by Section 277 of the FY2015 Budget.
Thanks to Regional Director, Lee Dillard Adams, and Mary Gardner, Deputy Regional Director, Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup; Marielle Stone, Deputy Regional Director, Bureau of Water Resources; Andrea Briggs, Deputy Regional Director, Bureau of Administrative Services; and John Kronopolus, Deputy Regional Director, Bureau of Air and Waste – for their participation and presentations.
See photos from the program here.