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NTS Association of Counties

September 25, 2019 - 11:11am

Editor's Note: This post was updated Sept. 26 to include more information about Genesee County, see below ***.

From the NYS Association of Counties:

Across New York State, local governments are enacting local laws, adopting energy-saving initiatives, taking steps toward climate resiliency, and collaborating to develop programs for supporting more resilient communities.

“As we celebrate Climate Week, it must be noted counties across New York are investing in hundreds of initiatives to combat climate change and promote more climate resilient communities,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

Through state programs such as Climate Smart Communities and Clean Energy Communities, counties are acting to both mitigate their environmental impact and save taxpayer dollars in the process.

Counties will also be key partners with the state in meeting the goals established by the recently-enacted New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. This legislation set the most aggressive greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction goals of any major economy and will put New York State on a path to carbon neutrality.

“Our county leaders are in a unique position to work with state, federal, and local agencies on environmental issues, and to develop partnerships to mitigate and prepare for the impact of climate change on our communities,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario. “During this Climate Week, we are highlighting the programs underway in our communities.”

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***Genesee County received a Smart Growth grant from the NYS Department of State for climate resiliency planning: 

When the grant was announced last September, Genesee County Legislature Chairman Robert Bausch said, "The Smart Growth grant program has provided some of our State's most vulnerable counties with the resources they need to ensure they are prepared for the next severe weather event.

"We can never be sure when the next disastrous storm will hit. With this funding to build more resilient communities and fight against the devastating effects, Governor Cuomo is creating a more sustainable New York for all."

Genesee County was among five Upstate counties chosen to divvy up a total of $1 million to develop resiliency plans and identify projects while incorporating the principles of smart, sustainable growth and development.

The plans funded through the grant will address:

  • An increase in frequency and severity of storm and precipitation events;
  • Sea-level rise;
  • Storm surge;
  • Coastal and riverine flooding;
  • Drought; and
  • Debris and ice jams.

For the first phase, they mapped the whole county and worked closely with four municipalities (see below). Now, for Phase 2, they're hoping to work with as many communities as possible.

The person overseeing the local Smart Growth planning and projects is county Planning Director Felipe Oltramari ([email protected]).

The Green Geneese/Smart Genesee plan is available online here.

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 To learn more about the climate actions counties have undertaken, check out the NYS Energy Research & Development Authority's Clean Energy Communities map here.

Village of Bergen (2010 Census population: 1,176)

Clean Energy Community -- designated

  • 4 High Impact Areas Completed: Unified Solar Permit; LED Street Lights; Energy Code Enforcement Training; Benchmarking.

Town of Batavia -- (2010 Census population: 6,809)

Clean Energy Community -- designated

  • 4 High Impact Areas Completed: Unified Solar Permit; LED Street Lights; Energy Code Enforcement Training; Benchmarking.

Village of Corfu (2010 Census population: 709)

Clean Energy Community -- participating

  • 1 High Impact Action Completed: Energy Code Enforcement Training

Town of Pembroke (2010 Census population: 4,292)

Clean Energy Community -- participating

  • 1 High Impact Action Completed: Energy Code Enforcement Training
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