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Putnam Communities Get Bronze Award For Going Green

Three local municipalities have been certified as bronze-level Climate Smart Communities by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The County of Putnam, Town of Kent and Village of Cold Spring have joined 154 other municipalities the state that are working toward reduced greenhouse gas emissions and increased usage of renewable energy.

The program supports local efforts to meet the economic, social and environmental challenges posed by climate change. As part of this certification round, 22 local governments are being recognized for taking action to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

According to County Executive Kevin Byrne, the Putnam County Climate Smart Task Force took several actions to reduce its carbon footprint, which accumulated points to meet the criteria of a Climate Smart Community. Specific steps included encouraging residents to practice sustainable habits such as recycling and preserving energy.

The county itself has also taken several actions to become more sustainable, including installing solar panels at some of its buildings, creating the Complete Streets Policy, and implementing energy conservation measures.

“We’re very proud of the work we’ve put in to receive this esteemed designation,” said Putnam County Commissioner of Planning Barbara Barosa. “Our bronze certification recognizes the significant projects that our county has completed to conserve energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and make Putnam a more sustainable municipality.”

Putnam’s Climate Smart Coordinator/Planning Assistant Ilona Campo said attaining bronze certification represents a significant milestone that required coordinated efforts across multiple departments, and alongside local government representatives and nonprofit professionals.

“Since the re-establishment of the Climate Smart Task Force, I am honored to lead a team of talented individuals whose expertise has driven the exploration and execution of various projects that have been and can be implemented at both the municipal and county levels,” she said.

Deputy Chairperson of the Putnam Legislature Amy Sayegh, R-Mahopac Falls, said achieving bronze level Climate Smart Community status is a testament to the county’s dedication to environmental stewardship and sustainability.

“This milestone is the result of hard work and shared commitment to preserving our natural resources and ensuring a healthier, more sustainable future, while also saving taxpayer dollars with more energy-efficient facilities,” she said. “I’m proud of the strides we’ve made and look forward to continuing our work.”

To achieve Climate Smart Community certification, local governments accumulate points for planning and implementing actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve community resilience in the face of the worsening impacts of climate change.

Established in 2009, the interagency Climate Smart Communities program provides guidance and technical support to local governments to take locally driven climate action. The first step to becoming a Climate Smart Community is to register by pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

To date, 416 local governments representing more than 9.5 million New Yorkers adopted the Climate Smart Communities pledge (they have not yet achieved Climate Smart Community status.)

Launched in 2014, the certification program recognizes the leadership and accomplishments of communities taking climate action. Each certification is valid for five years.

“These exceptional communities are helping DEC celebrate the 10th anniversary of the state’s Climate Smart Certification program by demonstrating sustained and robust commitment to local climate action,” said NYSDEC Interim Commissioner Sean Mahar. “By achieving certification as a Climate Smart Community, municipalities are promoting sustainability, increasing zero-emission transportation, and reducing pollution.” 

To be certified, communities must demonstrate an active climate change task force that includes residents and municipal representatives. Most certified communities completed greenhouse gas inventories that calculate emissions at the local level and help local leaders identify how best to help New York State meet its ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction directives under the Climate Act.


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