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For Release: Thursday, April 25, 2019

DEC and NYSERDA Recognize Village of Nyack as a Model for Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Build Climate Resiliency

Nyack Designated as Certified Climate Smart Community and Clean Energy Community

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today recognized the Village of Nyack as a model municipality for its actions to strengthen resiliency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "I applaud the Village of Nyack for taking these critical steps to achieve a significant milestone. Communities across New York State are seeing first-hand the negative effects of climate change and severe weather events. As we continue to find innovative ways to integrate these concerns into daily decision making, it's thrilling to see Nyack lead by example and complete its inventory of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and take action to reduce its carbon footprint."

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority said, "Building a cleaner, more resilient, and affordable New York begins with local governments like the Village of Nyack driving clean energy solutions to cut costs, reduce emissions, and improve the environment in their community. Congratulations to the entire Nyack community for this designation and for their commitment to supporting Governor Cuomo's nation-leading clean energy goals as proposed under the Green New Deal."

At a ceremony celebrating Earth Week in New York State, DEC designated Nyack as the 24th Certified Climate Smart Community in New York and NYSERDA designated the Village as a Clean Energy Community (link leaves DEC's website). DEC Regional Director Kelly Turturro congratulated Mayor Don Hammond and presented the Village with two street signs highlighting the certification. Also at the event, Bradford Tito, NYSERDA Program Manager, Communities and Local Governments, recognized Nyack's designation as a Clean Energy Community.

Climate Smart Community Designation:

The Village of Nyack has undertaken a series of actions to earn bronze certification as a Climate Smart Community (CSC). As with all certified Climate Smart Communities, the Village formed a CSC task force and appointed a coordinator to spearhead the effort. Nyack has taken steps to improve the efficiency of its municipal operations by implementing energy benchmarking for all of its buildings and by completing energy audits for the Village's two largest buildings, the Village Hall and the water treatment plant.

Nyack's commitment to climate action has also focused on land use and generating benefits for the larger community. In updating its comprehensive plan, the Village incorporated several sustainability elements relating to recycling, smart growth, protection of natural resources and drinking water sources, and climate change adaptation. Further, the Village board adopted a Complete Streets policy, developed a comprehensive Nyack Bike Walk Master Plan, and installed an electric vehicle charging station.

Nyack Mayor Don Hammond said, "Nyack is lowering its greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and alternative energy. Installing new LED streetlights will reduce our lighting energy usage by 68 percent. Municipal buildings now use 100 percent green electricity sources. And plans are underway to procure sustainable and cost saving electricity for residents and small businesses through Community Choice Aggregation."

Nyack Sustainability Coordinator Marcy Denker said, "Being in the Climate Smart Communities network has helped us up our game. Our terrific Sustainability Committee is really energized now that we're seeing plans become reality on the ground-like more trees and native green infrastructure, EV charging stations, lots of recycling bins and bike racks--plus a new bike lane in the works."

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 the DEC, NYSERDA, and the departments of State, Transportation, Public Service, and Health. There are 252 registered Climate Smart Communities, representing 39 percent 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 Village of Nyack, DEC has previously designated 23 certified Climate Smart Communities. Visit the Climate Smart Communities website (link leaves DEC's website) to learn more.

In 2016, Governor Cuomo announced the Clean Energy Communities initiative, which complements the Climate Smart Communities program to recognize and reward local governments for their clean energy and climate leadership. The $16 million Clean Energy Communities initiative supports local government leaders across the state by providing grants to eligible municipalities to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable development projects in their communities. Clean Energy Communities advance the Governor's Green New Deal by demonstrating the importance of communities in helping New York reach its goal of having a carbon-neutral economy as soon as practicable and a carbon-free power grid by 2040.

Nyack received the designation for completing four of 10 high-impact clean energy actions identified by NYSERDA as part of the Clean Energy Communities initiative. In addition, the designation gives Nyack an opportunity to apply for up to $5,000 toward additional clean energy projects, with no local cost share.

To earn the Clean Energy Community designation, Nyack completed the following high-impact clean energy actions:

  • Adopted a benchmarking policy to track and report the energy use of the Village's municipal building.
  • Installed electric vehicle charging stations and using alternative fuel vehicles, such as hybrid and electric cars, for municipal business.
  • Earned Climate Smart Communities Certification through the Department of Environmental Conservation for developing a comprehensive program to reduce its carbon footprint and improve the environment.
  • Streamlined the local approval process for solar projects through the adoption of the New York State Unified Solar Permit.

Cities, counties, towns and villages that complete at least four of 10 high-impact clean energy actions are designated Clean Energy Communities and are eligible to apply for funding of up to $250,000 with no local cost share and the option of receiving up to 25 percent paid in advance to support additional clean energy projects. At least two of the four actions must have been completed after August 1, 2016. NYSERDA is accepting applications for funding on a rolling basis through September 30, 2019 or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first. Funds are being provided through the Clean Energy Fund and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Once all funding is exhausted for large or small/medium categories in a region, local governments designated a Clean Energy Community are eligible to apply for a $5,000 grant, on a first-come, first-serve basis until such funds are exhausted.

Clean Energy Community Coordinators are also available at no charge to help communities develop and prioritize clean energy goals, access easy-to-use resources such as guidance documents and case studies, and take advantage of available funding and technical assistance opportunities. For more information on Clean Energy Communities (link leaves DEC's website), visit NYSERDA's website. Local government officials or employees can find contact information for their respective coordinator (link leaves DEC's website) for assistance navigating the program.

Senator David Carlucci said, "Nyack is the perfect example of a municipality working with the State to practice better green-decision making, while reducing their carbon footprint. As the first community in Rockland to reach the bronze-certified level of the Climate Smart Community program, Nyack serves as an example to other communities. I congratulate Mayor Hammond on this recognition and encourage all of our municipalities to take part in the program and help protect our environment."

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) said, "As a member of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation, I have long fought for environmental justice and sustainable communities. Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. In New York State we are looking beyond Washington and addressing Climate Change with policy, legislation and programs, including the Climate Smart Communities program. I applaud the Village of Nyack, its elected officials, leadership and residents for their commitment to climate action and for becoming the first bronze-certified Climate Smart Community in Rockland County."

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