Environmental Protection Minister: I need more manpower

Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said Monday the measly budget of the ministry was preventing him from filling essential professional positions, including enforcement. He told the Knesset Finance Committee that he preferred to have the overall budget of the ministry cut if necessary as long as the Treasury allowed him to hire more people. The ministry's basic budget is set to stand at NIS 200 million in 2009 and NIS 212 million in 2010. During these two years, a one-time lump sum of NIS 80 million will be authorized to prepare for the Clean Air Act to go into effect, climate change, enforcement, rehabilitating streams, green building and more. Erdan added that it would cost roughly NIS 5 million per year to ready Israel to join the OECD and that the major impediment at this point was a lack of manpower. Committee Chair Moshe Gafni (UTJ) said he would talk to the Treasury