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For Release: Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Lieutenant Governor Hochul and DEC Announce Canandaigua as New York's Newest Certified Climate Smart Community

City of Canandaigua Achieves Bronze Certification for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Use

Event Part of DEC's Weeklong Celebration of Earth Day

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that the Ontario County city of Canandaigua has earned its designation as one of New York's 23 certified Climate Smart Communities. The announcement was made at the Commons Park in Canandaigua and is part of DEC's weeklong celebration of Earth Day.

"New York is leading the nation in our efforts to increase energy efficiency and energy storage across the state," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today's announcement. "Communities designated as Climate Smart Communities are taking steps to ensure reduced energy usage and greenhouse gases for a cleaner and healthier environment. I congratulate the City of Canandaigua on becoming a New York Climate Smart Community, helping to advance our aggressive clean energy goals and working to combat climate change for future generations."‎

"DEC applauds the city of Canandaigua for joining other New York communities in building resilience in the face of a changing climate," DEC Commissioner Seggos said. "This community is committed to reducing energy use in government buildings and implementing climate-smart land use, furthering the state's standing as a leader in integrating climate concerns into daily decision making. We encourage other municipalities to become climate smart and help preserve our natural resources for generations to come."

The city of Canandaigua has undertaken a series of actions to earn bronze certification as a Climate Smart Community (CSC). As with all certified Climate Smart Communities, the city formed a CSC task force and appointed a CSC coordinator to spearhead the effort, focusing primarily on reducing energy use and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy use. To examine the energy efficiency of its operations, Canandaigua conducted an energy audit that covered five municipal buildings and the city's street lights. Determined to shift to renewable energy, Canandaigua built a 20-acre solar array which produces 5,332,000 kilowatt hours per year and provides clean electricity for the city's facilities. City officials estimate saving 3.5 million dollars in energy costs over the 25-year power purchase agreement.

As part of reducing emissions from transportation in the broader community and making streets safe for all users, Canandaigua adopted a Complete Streets policy in 2013. The impact of this policy is strengthened by an Active Transportation Plan and investments by the city that make it easier to travel by foot and by bicycle in the city, such as wider sidewalks, street furniture, and strategically located bike racks.

State Senator Pam Helming said, "It's great that Canandaigua is investing in preserving our environment. As we celebrate Earth Day it is important to remember that we all have a role to play. By working together as a community and with local businesses we can protect and enhance Canandaigua Lake for future generations."

Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua), said, "I commend the City of Canandaigua and the hard-working professionals whose efforts are being recognized today by New York State. The people of Canandaigua and Finger Lakes Region recognize that our unmatched natural resources contribute directly to the health of our communities, our economy and our quality of life. Sustainable practices that promote environmental protection are critical to our future and deserve to be applauded."

Canandaigua Mayor Ellen Polimeni said, "I am so proud of our Climate Smart Committee for addressing many aspects of the climate changes we are facing. Receiving word from the Department of Environmental Conservation that we have achieved the Bronze Level after a short time shows we are on the right path and I know there is more to come as the committee moves forward on our behalf."

Robert Richardson, Assistant City Manager and Climate Smart Canandaigua Coordinator, said, "This certification is really the culmination of all the work done by the City over the last decade. One of the explicitly stated goals in our strategic plan is environmental stewardship, which includes promoting practices that conserve our natural resources, taking a leadership role in the utilization of alternative energy sources, and reducing the city's impact on the environment. Along with the Clean Energy Community designation the city received from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in 2017, this Climate Smart Communities initiative aligns perfectly with Canandaigua's commitment to creating a greener and more sustainable community."

Suzi van der Sterre, Chair of the Climate Smart Canandaigua Task Force, said, "I am proud to be part of the Climate Smart Canandaigua Task Force. I get to work with an amazing group of people, all interested in addressing the climate change crisis locally. It is my hope that Canandaigua can lead the way in the Climate Smart Communities program and establish itself as a model community for implementing climate smart actions."

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 take advantage of state agency support to reduce greenhouse gas 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 city of Canandaigua, DEC has previously designated 22 certified Climate Smart Communities. Visit the Climate Smart Communities website to learn more.

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