9c895d5ca7fcdd9052d730787f1a184bGovernor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $30 million in the first round of funding for the implementation of regional sustainability plans, including the plan recently endorsed by the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council. The plans were developed under the governor’s $100 million Cleaner, Greener Communities program, a major statewide initiative to invest in smart growth and sustainability. “This first round of funding will put each region’s sustainability plans to action,” Governor Cuomo said. “Through the Cleaner, Greener Communities program, regions across the state have developed plans from the bottom up, building on their assets and identifying needs, to create green jobs for New Yorkers while investing in projects that improve energy efficiency and reduce pollution. These plans will help accelerate our clean energy economy and improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers.” The Mid-Hudson plan outlines the region’s vision, goals and objectives for a sustainable future, identifies a number of regional assets and makes recommendations for building on those assets. A consortium of dozens of municipal leaders and organizations completed the plan, which aims to achieve smart growth and improve resiliency, increase energy efficiency and renewable energy generation, achieve a self-sufficient “zero waste” future, strengthen agriculture and preserve open space, improve water quality and water efficiency, and create jobs. Recently, it was chosen by the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation for a Special Award in Regional Planning. Mid-Hudson plan statistics: In 2010, the Mid-Hudson Region’s greenhouse gas emissions totaled an estimated 27 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). This is equivalent to the amount of emissions produced from burning more than 322,000 tanker trucks’ worth of gasoline. The region represents 0.5 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and roughly 13 percent of New York State emissions. The single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the region is transportation fuel use, which accounts for 44.9 percent of regional emissions. The second largest source of emissions is residential energy use, which includes fuels used directly for space and water heating, as well as the indirect emissions resulting from the use of electricity. These comprise 18 percent of the region’s total emissions. The Mid-Hudson Region is relatively efficient in energy use compared with the rest of New York State. It contains 12 percent of the State’s population, but accounts for only 9.6 percent (360 trillion Btu) of the state’s annual energy consumption. Mid-Hudson plan highlights: Energy conservation recommendation: Reduce the amount of energy the Mid-Hudson Region imports by 3 percent by expanding renewable generation and improving the resilience of the energy delivery system throughout the region. This action would leave an additional $100 million per year in the region’s economy. Materials management recommendation: Achieve a long-term goal of materials management self-sufficiency. Per capita waste disposal rates are lower in the region than the New York State average, and the recycling rate is higher. This action will avoid the costs and impacts associated with shipping several million pounds of waste outside regional borders for disposal every day. These materials can be recovered and reused locally as feedstock for manufacturing. Water quality and efficiency recommendation: Meet water quality and water efficiency objectives set by the region. With this action, the region can preserve this resource for the future and competitively differentiate itself from water-scarce parts of the U.S. as a sensible location for business development. It will do so by protecting the habitat and water quality and improving the reliability of water treatment and distribution systems and wastewater treatment collection systems. Community development recommendation: Create “complete” communities by ensuring a balance of housing and jobs, a mix of services including access to schools and healthy foods, access to parks, recreational facilities, open space, transportation options and a healthy environment. The complete Mid-Hudson sustainability plan is available at www.engagemidhudson.com [2] or www.orangecountygov.com/planning [3]. In accordance with the Cleaner, Greener Communities program objectives, the plan addresses the following subject areas: energy, transportation, land use and livable communities, waste management, water management, economic development and agriculture/forestry. In addition, each regional planning consortium conducted a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions study that calculated current GHG emissions and projected GHG reductions that would result from implementing the sustainability plan. “Through Governor Cuomo’s Cleaner, Greener Communities program, the Mid-Hudson will significantly improve the economic development and environmental well-being of its communities. By integrating sustainable growth strategies with regional economic development, this program can create more jobs, greater opportunity and a better quality of life for the region’s residents,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA. A wide range of stakeholders participated in development of the Mid-Hudson sustainability plan, including 30 consortium members from seven counties and 300 professionals in working groups. The group held public meetings, a ‘virtual town hall’ website, and a public comment period, and received more than 400 public comments/suggestions. The coalition was comprised of Dutchess County, Orange County, Putnam County, Rockland County, Sullivan County, Ulster County, Town of Greenburgh, Northern Westchester Energy Action Coalition, Southern Westchester Energy Action Coalition, Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council. Orange County and the Town of Greenburgh led the planning process for the region. The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Cuomo’s efforts to spur economic development and job creation across New York State. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 REDCs to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships composed of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. As a result of the first two rounds of competitive awards, the State is supporting more than 1,450 regionally significant economic development and community revitalization projects. For more information on the Regional Councils, please visit regionalcouncils.ny.gov [4]. Funding for the Cleaner, Greener Communities program is through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). For more information on the program, including instructions on submitting grant proposals through the Consolidated Funding Application, please visit www.nyserda.ny.gov/Cleaner-Greener [5]. For further information on the Mid-Hudson sustainability growth planning process, please contact David Church, Orange County Planning Commissioner, (845) 615-3840, dchurch@co.orange.ny.us [6] or Thomas Madden, Town of Greenburgh Commissioner of Community Development and Conservation, (914) 993-1505, tmadden@greenburghny.com [7]. Mid-Hudson REDC Co-chairs Dennis Murray, President of Marist College, and Dr. Leonard S. Schleifer, President & CEO of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., said, “The Mid-Hudson Region has a long tradition of stewardship of our natural environment. Governor Cuomo’s Cleaner, Greener Communities program challenged the region to develop a comprehensive plan that encourages economic development and growth while being mindful of the impact on the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land we live on. The regional sustainability plan is a big step in the right direction and will serve as an important guide to the Regional Council as we continue to implement our strategic plan for regional economic growth. This plan for smart, sustainable growth will lead to increased energy efficiency, reduced pollution and more livable, interconnected communities, while also creating employment and economic opportunities that will improve the quality of life in the Hudson Valley.” Orange County Executive Edward A. Diana said, “Orange County is proud to have co-chaired our Mid- Hudson Region’s efforts and congratulates the Governor and all the regions for helping to take another step towards making New York State and our region the best to live, work and raise a family.” Orange County Planning Commissioner David Church said, “The significant research and community involvement found in the Regional Sustainability Plans, here in the Mid Hudson and throughout New York State, demonstrates the importance of sustainability and economic development today as well as the exciting regional partnerships that are possible when provided direction and incentives for success. We thank the Governor and NYSERDA for such inspired direction.” Town of Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner said, “We are ecstatic with the sustainability plan that has been developed by the consortium. What I find important is that the plan recognizes the need for the Mid-Hudson Region’s counties and municipalities to work together on a regional scale to address sustainable development as part of Governor’s Cuomo economic plan for the state.” Greenburgh Planning Commissioner Thomas Madden said, “This plan truly represents the region to come together to strengthen the region’s assets in order to create jobs through smarter growth. Municipalities can use the sustainability plan to help enhance economic growth opportunities in a positive direction that improves environmental quality and energy efficiency while improving the overall quality of life for the region’s residents.”