June 25, 2012
ALBANY – A coalition of Capital Region counties, towns and organizations has received $1 million from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to create a comprehensive smart growth plan for regional sustainability. This plan is part of the Cleaner, Greener Communities program, a major environmental initiative announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last year.
The coalition -- comprised of representatives from counties, municipalities and key experts -- will develop a smart growth plan that encompasses the Capital Region Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) area.
The Capital Region planning area is comprised of eight counties: Albany; Columbia; Greene; Rensselaer; Saratoga; Schenectady; Warren and Washington. The City of Albany will lead the planning process for the Capital Region.
"The Sustainability Plan is an excellent example of collaboration within the Capital Region. Working together, the coalition will create a plan that will improve our environment, create energy efficiencies and help to create jobs in the region,” said Michael J. Castellana, Co-Chair of the Capital Region Economic Development Council.
“While each of us can and must act individually to create a cleaner, greener future, it is only by creating a comprehensive regional sustainability roadmap, through a collaborative planning process, that we will be able to truly maximize economic, environmental, and energy benefits and efficiencies,” said CREDC co-chair and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President, Shirley Ann Jackson. “This sustainability initiative is an essential component of the region’s overall strategic economic development plan.”
The development of a comprehensive regional sustainability plan is the first phase of the Cleaner, Greener Communities program and is intended to provide resources that each New York State region can use to develop its own vision, goals and objectives for a sustainable future, identify actions needed to achieve that future and outline metrics to measure success. Only one award was made in each region of the state.
“This funding is an excellent opportunity for the Capital Region to develop a plan that improves environmental quality by reducing air, water and land pollution and improves quality of life through smart growth and sustainable development,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, all New Yorkers will benefit, as the regional plans will examine each region’s available resources and provide a specific vision to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
“The City of Albany is proud to participate in the development of the Capital Region Sustainability Plan,” said Albany Mayor Gerald D. Jennings. “The plan will reduce air, water and land pollution and improve our quality of life through smart growth and sustainable development. It will also improve energy efficiency, promote renewable energy and result in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the Capital Region. I look forward to working with all of the municipalities in the Capital Region in the undertaking of this important planning process.”
“This planning effort provides an excellent opportunity to bring together stakeholders from throughout the eight-county region to provide a framework for growth and collectively identify strategies, priorities, and projects to achieve a sustainable future in the greater Capital Region,” said Rocco Ferraro, executive director of the Capital District Regional Planning Commission. The Commission provides a regional perspective for planning issues and serves public, private and not-for-profit stakeholders by fostering information-sharing and intergovernmental collaboration in order to identify sustainable solutions for the Capital Region.
“We all talk about being ‘green,’ cleaning up our environment and dedicating resources to renewable energy, but we’ve been largely talking about it as individual municipalities,” said Albany County Executive Dan McCoy. “This consortium represents a critical step. Together, we will be able to create a sustainability plan that will have buy-in on a regional scale and create a variety of economic opportunities.”
“With more than 1,400 employees, $200,000 million in buildings and other property, and a $305 million operating budget, Saratoga County Government has a responsibility to lead by example when it comes to its environmental, energy and economic performance,” said Spencer Hellwig, Saratoga County Administrator. “Demonstrating a commitment to this principle our county enthusiastically supports initiatives like the Cleaner, Greener Communities program that will reduce greenhouse gas pollution, eliminate waste, and improve energy and water performance. We’ve already initiated this process within our own facilities with upgrades to electrical systems and controls to improve energy efficiency. We are firmly committed to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in clean energy technologies and environmentally responsible products.”
“Working to reduce our impact on our environment while becoming more energy efficient and less dependent on foreign oil should be a priority of every level of government and I am confident that this Cleaner, Greener Communities program will help lay the groundwork for the regional approach necessary to achieve those goals,” said Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen M. Jimino.
“As the home of GE’s Global Renewable Energy Headquarters and other businesses creating cutting-edge technologies, Schenectady County has a history of working to improve the quality of life for residents and providing a healthy environment, while enhancing economic development and job creation opportunities. We now look forward to working with our neighboring communities to create regional sustainability goals that will lead to greater economic opportunities while leaving a better place for future generations,” said Judy Dagostino, Chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature.
Once the plan is developed, additional funding will be available from the Cleaner, Greener Communities program on a competitive basis to implement projects that support the goals of the plan. Projects must create opportunities for achieving greenhouse gas reductions, energy efficiency savings and/or renewable energy deployment while enhancing job creation, economic investment and development consistent with the region’s sustainability and REDC strategic plan.
For further information on the Capital Region sustainability growth planning process, please contact Project Coordinator Elizabeth Staubach at 434-2532 ext. 35 or EStaubach@VHB.com.
Information on the Capital Region plan also can be found at the website www.sustainablecapitalregion.org; on Twitter at @sustaincapreg; and on Facebook at facebook.com/sustainablecapitalregion.
Last Updated: 05/14/2013
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