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For Release: Friday, February 17, 2017

DEC Names Madison County New York's 10th Certified Climate Smart Community

Madison County Recognized By New York State as Model Municipality for Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Build Resiliency

DEC Awards Madison County $15,000 to Right-Size Government Vehicle Fleet

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today recognized Madison County as the tenth local government in the State to be designated a Certified Climate Smart Community.

"I applaud Madison County municipal leaders' commitment to reducing energy use and investing in locally generated clean energy," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "The county is a model for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while bolstering economic vitality. Madison County has shown exceptional leadership, and I congratulate County Chairman John Becker and his staff."

DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner, Ken Lynch and Regional Director Matthew Marko also congratulated County Chairman Becker and presented him with two street signs highlighting the county's certification at an event at the Madison County Agriculture and Renewable Energy Park in Lincoln, NY.

Madison County has built a strong foundation for climate action through community outreach and extensive planning, including greenhouse gas inventories and a comprehensive Energy and Sustainability Plan. The Energy and Sustainability Plan includes strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while improving quality of life in the county. The plan also includes actions to help build resiliency to anticipated extreme weather events and flooding that are the results of a changing climate. Such adaptation is a priority for a region that was hit hard by intense rainfall events in 2013 that caused millions of dollars of damage.

"Local communities see first-hand the impacts of climate change and are at the forefront of the State's efforts to negate these impacts with initiatives like Climate Smart Communities," said John Rhodes, NYSERDA President and CEO. "Madison County can serve as an example for others through their actions to protect the environment and their residents while at the same time helping the State achieve its ambitious energy goals."

Madison County has demonstrated its commitment to reducing energy use by conducting comprehensive energy audits and upgrading to light-emitting diode (LED) technology in government buildings. In addition, the county installed a 50-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) array and is one of the first communities in the nation to install a flexible solar PV cap on its local landfill.

Madison County also earned innovation points toward certification for a unique public-private partnership between the county and a local lumber company at the Agriculture and Renewable Energy Park. The county harvests methane gas from its active landfill and uses it to fuel an electrical generator. Cazenovia-based Johnson Brothers Lumber then uses the waste heat from this gas-to-energy facility to dry lumber in a kiln sited on the property. The gas-to-energy facility also provides heat to other county buildings that are part of the landfill complex. The Agriculture and Renewable Energy Park exemplifies Madison County's commitment to building a vibrant green economy and preserving the natural beauty of the region.

"Caring for our beautiful landscape and abundant natural resources has always been part of our way of life in Madison County," said John Becker, Madison County Board of Supervisors Chairman. "We are proud to be recognized as a Certified Climate Smart Community because it acknowledges the hard work, innovative thinking and collaboration of multiple departments and municipal partners. This designation reflects our deep commitment to be good stewards of the environment for generations to come."

"Madison County has long prided itself as a leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency," said Scott Ingmire, Madison County Director of Planning. "This certification is the result of a number of Madison County departments working cooperatively to implement actions and strategies that often are not required and take extra initiative. Certification is just the beginning, and our hope is that we can continue to use the State's Climate Smart Community Certification program as an action agenda for future endeavors that limit our climate footprint, lead by example, and save taxpayer dollars."

Launched in 2014, the Climate Smart Communities Certification program recognizes local governments that have taken action to reduce emissions and protect their communities from a changing climate. In addition to Madison County, nine other local governments have completed a rigorous review process to be designated Certified Climate Smart Communities: Ulster County (bronze), City of Kingston (bronze), Village of Dobbs Ferry (bronze), Town of Mamaroneck, Town of East Hampton, Town of Cortlandt, Orange County, City of Albany, and City of Watervliet. These Certified Climate Smart Communities represent New York's foremost leaders in local climate action.

Madison County also recently received a Climate Smart Communities grant from the DEC through the new Title 15 of the Environmental Protection Fund, which provides 50/50 matching grants to eligible municipalities to implement climate adaptation and mitigation projects across the state. Madison County will use the $15,000 grant to right-size its government vehicle fleet and advance broader goals related to efficiently using taxpayer monies and reducing government emissions. Work will include an inventory of the vehicle fleet's characteristics and an analysis of management practices. The assessment will be used to formulate recommendations for policies or actions to be implemented by the county fleet manager.

To learn more, visit the DEC website and the Climate Smart Communities Resources and Services web page.

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