Nassau County Executive Laura Curran was joined by New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky to announce Nassau County’s participation in the New York’s Climate Smart Communities Program and to adopt a series of Climate Smart goals. The bill was unanimously passed by the Nassau County Legislature in late December.
“It is our responsibility to protect our environment for generations to come and Nassau County stands ready to do our part. We are pledging to make significant strides towards fighting climate change by joining the Climate Smart Communities program. We are excited about the prospects of working together to create a more sustainable, cleaner New York,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
“New York is leading the way on combating climate change and ensuring a green, sustainable future for generations to come,” said Senator Todd Kaminsky, chair of the NYS Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. “I commend County Executive Laura Curran on her commitment to making Nassau a climate smart community and transitioning away from inefficient and cost-prohibitive energy sources.”
“Climate change is the defining issue of our generation. On behalf of DEC, I applaud Nassau County for adopting the Climate Smart Communities pledge and joining the communities across New York State who are working to tackle this challenge in a collaborative and proactive way,” New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said.
Members of the Climate Smart Communities program are a network of New York communities engaged in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving climate resilience. The program provides guidance to local governments on best practices for mitigating and adapting to climate change.
By participating in the program Nassau County vows to:
- Inventory greenhouse gas emissions to establish a baseline and reduction goals for county government operations
- Decrease energy usage
- Achieve / exceed LEED standards for new facility construction and incorporate energy efficient technology, where applicable and feasible
- Convert county fleet to low/no emission and fuel-efficient vehicles
- Shift to clean, renewable energy generation and procurement
- Reduce solid waste generation and promote the reuse/recycling of items
- Protect open space, biodiversity and water quality throughout the county
- Enhance community resilience to impacts of climate change such as sea level rise and storm surge
- Support a green innovation economy
- Establish public awareness campaigns on county’s green initiatives to encourage residents to be more environmentally responsible.
- Engage in evolving climate action research and policy at the local and regional level, be willing to consider new ideas.
- Projects in the proposed 2020 Capital Plan will allow the county to conduct a feasibility study to install solar generation on county properties/buildings and determine the feasibility of converting several county fleets to electric vehicles.
- Nassau County’s Department of Public Works is working to bring electric vehicle charging stations to County buildings and properties for public use.
- C-PACE (also known as Energize NY Finance) financing is a program eligible to local governments in New York State that allows property owners to finance the cost of clean energy upgrades to their commercial or non-profit property with no out-of-pocket expenses, and payments that are less than the ongoing savings on energy bills. C-PACE enables eligible commercially owned buildings to secure funds to tackle significant energy upgrades and renewable energy projects for existing buildings and incorporate renewable energy in new buildings. This program has the dual benefit of saving building owners money and creating green jobs in the building and energy fields.
- Nassau County’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will be kicking off its Hazard Mitigation Plan 5-Year Update in early 2020. OEM is working directly with local municipalities and regional stakeholders to increase community resilience to natural hazards, such as severe storms, flooding and earthquakes.
- Nassau County is also currently conducting a mobility study that is looking into a variety of transportation options, including reducing single-occupancy vehicle travel and emerging technology and trends in renewable fuel vehicles.
—Submitted by the office of County Executive Laura Curran