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For Release: Friday, May 18, 2018

New York State Agencies Celebrate 'Green Your Commute Day' By Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

2,350 State Employees Participate in Greener Commutes to Reduce Emissions by 22.1 Tons

Green Your Commute Day Supports Governor Cuomo's Comprehensive Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that 2,350 New York State employees celebrated Green Your Commute Day, the largest number of participants in the event's history. Green Your Commute Day supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, from 1990 levels.

"New Yorkers never shy away from a fight and I am proud that under the leadership of Governor Cuomo that New York is leading the way by taking bold action in the fight against climate change," said Commissioner Seggos. "Whether biking in Buffalo, carpooling in Cooperstown, or riding the bus in Brooklyn, I commend all State employees who joined us to take action to lower our greenhouse gas emissions."

An estimated 2,350 employees from multiple state agencies across New York are leading by example and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector by commuting to work using a means other than driving alone in a gasoline or diesel-powered vehicle. The record number of participants represents a 37 percent increase in participation over last year. Their actions directly offset 22.1 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of burning 2,330 gallons of gas.

"Green Your Commute Day is a great opportunity for State agencies to participate in one of the green and sustainable initiatives Governor Cuomo promotes to reduce New York's greenhouse gas emissions," OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito said. "I applaud the members of Team OGS and all State employees whose efforts are helping New York reduce its environmental impact."

"I applaud all those New Yorkers who took part in this year's Green Your Commute Day," said Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey. "Discovering healthy and alternative measures to include in your daily commute will further aid in limiting our environmental footprint and allow future generations to continue to enjoy and explore our great outdoors."

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, "This year's record-breaking Green Your Commute Day demonstrated a very high level of commitment by State employees to choose cleaner forms of transportation to lessen their carbon footprint. I'm incredibly proud to work side-by-side with so many colleagues who are affecting positive change for the benefit of our communities and environment, and help support Governor Cuomo's aggressive fight on climate change."

"Each of us has the ability to make a real difference for the environment. Green Your Commute Day reminds us that by using more sustainable modes of transportation such as biking, walking, carpooling or public transit to get to work, we can accomplish Governor Cuomo's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to historically low levels by 2030 and beyond," said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said, "Green Your Commute Day highlights the positive impact individuals can have on our environment just by greening their commute for one day, and hopefully encourages people to make reducing fossil fuel emissions a habit in their everyday life. Our 511NY Rideshare service makes finding a carpool partner easy and we will continue to build infrastructure, such as bike lanes, sidewalks and bus stops, that provide safe, eco-friendly alternatives to driving."

DOT's 511NY Rideshare program, a free service open to the public that helps users find potential carpool partners, has developed a new portal specifically for DEC and DOH employees. The new portal will make it easier for DEC and DOH employees to find colleagues to carpool with so they can green their commutes all year round. 511NY Rideshare also provides traffic and transit information, helps users match with a "bike buddy" to ride with, and provides access to regional guaranteed ride home programs for carpoolers.

The transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York, representing 34 percent of the state's total emissions. Green Your Commute Day tackles these emissions both by reducing these greenhouse gases and by highlighting how state employees and citizens can act to lower them by utilizing a more sustainable mode of transportation. This year, employees walked, biked, took transit, carpooled, and drove electric vehicles to get to work.

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