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For Release: Thursday, April 18, 2019

DEC Announces Brighton as New York's Newest Certified Climate Smart Community

Town of Brighton Achieves Bronze Certification for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Use, and for Adopting Policies Regarding Habitat Resilience

Event is Part of DEC's Weeklong Celebration of Earth Week

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that the Monroe County town of Brighton has earned its designation as one of New York's 22 certified Climate Smart Communities. The announcement was made at the Brighton Town Hall as part of DEC's weeklong celebration of Earth Week.

"New York communities are experiencing the effects of climate change, from extreme storms like Sandy, Irene, and Lee to rising sea levels," Commissioner Seggos said. "Across the state, New York's Climate Smart Communities are out front, building resilience to a changing climate county by county, town by town, village by village. I applaud the town of Brighton for its commitment to reducing its government and community energy use and for preserving natural habitats. Communities like Brighton are models for others to follow, with committed teams working to integrate climate concerns into daily decision making."

The town of Brighton has undertaken a series of actions to earn bronze certification as a Climate Smart Community (CSC). As with all certified Climate Smart Communities, the town formed a CSC task force and appointed a CSC coordinator to spearhead the effort. To identify priorities, Brighton completed an inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from town government operations and the overall community. By installing a white roof, upgrading windows, and changing garage bay doors, Brighton reduced GHG emissions from town facilities by 33 percent over a three-year period (2014-2017).

To further enhance its resilience to climate change, Brighton adopted zoning changes to preserve street trees for shade and promote tree planting, conducted an assessment of the Buckland Creek Watershed to evaluate concerns related to erosion and water quality, and established an Environmental Protection Overlay District which incorporates stream buffer protection into its zoning code and other land use regulations.

Brighton Town Supervisor William W. Moehle said, "We are committed to supporting and investing in sustainability projects to improve the quality of our air and water and to conserve energy. I believe that as a municipality, it is our role to set an example and show people what sustainability is and how it works. Sustainability is exciting; it is forward thinking, technology driven and limited only by our imagination and will."

The Climate Smart Communities program, launched in 2009, provides guidance and technical support to communities to take locally driven climate action. The program is jointly sponsored by DEC, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the departments of State, Transportation, Public Service, and Health. There are 252 registered Climate Smart Communities, representing 39% of New Yorkers (more than 7.6 million). These registered municipalities have pledged to become Climate Smart Communities and take advantage of state agency support to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.

The Climate Smart Communities Certification program, announced in 2014, recognizes demonstrated accomplishments in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to a changing climate. In addition to the town of Brighton, DEC has previously designated 21 certified Climate Smart Communities. Visit the Climate Smart Communities website to learn more.

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