New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that DEC’s Climate Smart Communities Grant program has awarded $11.7 million to municipalities across the state as part of the $761 million in Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Awards announced on December 19, 2019.
Commissioner Seggos said, “With more New York communities looking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, invest in renewable energy, and reduce waste-often with the added benefit of reducing long-term energy costs-DEC’s Climate Smart Communities Program is thriving. The grants announced by Governor Cuomo as part of significant regional economic development investments in communities statewide will help local governments join in New York’s nation-leading efforts to fight climate change and build healthier, more resilient communities.”
Established in 2016, this 50/50 matching grant program supports municipalities seeking to become certified Climate Smart Communities and implement projects that advance Governor Cuomo’s climate change and clean energy goals by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating flood risk, and helping to prepare for extreme weather. The program supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which requires New York reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Over the first four years of this grant program, DEC has awarded more than $39 million to municipalities in support of local climate mitigation and adaptation projects. A list of the 2019 DEC Climate Smart Communities grant awards is available at DEC’s website.
There are currently more than 285 registered Climate Smart Communities, representing over 8 million New Yorkers. To be designated a registered community, municipalities make a commitment to act on climate change by passing a formal resolution that includes a 10-point pledge. Since 2014, 37 municipalities have completed the rigorous review process to be designated as certified Climate Smart Communities. These certified communities have gone beyond the pledge to complete and document a suite of actions that mitigate and adapt to climate change at the local level. More information about the program is available at the Climate Smart Communities website.