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For Release: Thursday, May 28, 2020

DEC Announces Five New Certified Climate Smart Communities: Warren County, City of Kingston, Town of Cortlandt, Town of Hamilton, and Village of Hamilton

Local Actions Support New York's Nation-Leading Climate Goals

Certified Communities Are Models for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Building Local Climate Resilience

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the latest round of certified Climate Smart Communities (CSC). By taking bold steps to mitigate and adapt to climate change, five local governments (Warren County, city of Kingston, town of Cortlandt, town of Hamilton, and village of Hamilton) successfully met criteria to be recognized as leaders during the second quarter round of review. Four communities achieved bronze level certification, and the city of Kingston attained the silver level, becoming one of four silver-certified communities in the state.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "The certified Climate Smart Communities announced today are models for municipalities across the state, complementing the State's climate leadership by taking local action to reduce climate pollution and strengthen their ability to withstand flooding and severe weather driven by climate change. Despite the federal government's ongoing failure to act on climate and its attempts to roll back critical environmental protections, New York State is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing clean energy sources, and building more resilient communities."

New York's newest certified Climate Smart Communities, listed by region:

Capital District
Warren County earned bronze-level certification.

Central New York
Town of Hamilton earned bronze-level certification.
Village of Hamilton earned bronze-level certification.

Hudson Valley
City of Kingston earned silver-level certification.
Town of Cortlandt earned bronze-level certification.

In addition, Suffolk County and the village of Hastings-on-Hudson renewed their existing certifications from the first quarter to increase their number of points, demonstrating a sustained commitment to action on climate change.

The specific actions that each certified Climate Smart Community took to achieve certification are available online. To view certification reports, visit the Climate Smart Communities website. The CSC program is jointly sponsored by DEC, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York Power Authority, Department of State, Department of Health, Department of Transportation, and Department of Public Service. For more information, visit the CSC website.

Started in 2009, the CSC program provides guidance and technical support to local governments to take locally driven climate action. The first step communities take is to register by passing a pledge to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. Currently there are 305 local governments that have passed the CSC pledge, representing more than 8.7 million New Yorkers. The certification program was launched in 2014 to document and celebrate the accomplishments of leading communities. In total, there are now 51 certified Climate Smart Communities in New York State.

In order to be certified, every community must show that it has an active climate action task force that includes municipal and resident representatives. Many certified communities get points for installing electric vehicle charging stations and putting solar panels on municipal buildings. Most certified communities also complete greenhouse gas inventories that calculate emissions at the local level and help them identify how best to help New York State meet the aggressive greenhouse gas limits required by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

The CLCPA requires the State to achieve a carbon-free electricity system by 2040, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, setting a new standard for states and the nation to expedite the transition to a clean energy economy. The new law will drive investment in clean energy solutions such as wind, solar, energy efficiency and energy storage. Importantly, implementation of the CLCPA will target investments to benefit disadvantaged communities, create tens of thousands of new jobs, improve public health and quality of life and provide all New Yorkers with more robust clean energy choices.

For more information about the CLCPA and the Climate Action Council, visit the NYS Climate Act website.

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