Albany, NY - June 27, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $30 million in the first round of funding for the implementation of regional sustainability plans, including the plan recently endorsed by the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council. The plans were developed under the governor’s $100 million Cleaner, Greener Communities program, a major statewide initiative to invest in smart growth planning and sustainability.
“This first round of funding will put each region’s sustainability plans to action,” Governor Cuomo said. “Through the Cleaner, Greener Communities program, regions across the state have developed plans from the bottom up, building on their assets and identifying needs, to create green jobs for New Yorkers while investing in projects that improve energy efficiency and reduce pollution. These plans will help accelerate our clean energy economy and improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers.”
The Long Island Cleaner, Greener Communities Sustainability Plan outlines the region’s vision, goals and objectives for a sustainable future, identifies a number of regional assets and makes recommendations for building on those assets. A consortium of dozens of municipal leaders and organizations completed the plan.
Long Island plan statistics:
- Long Island’s key economic assets are a well-educated and productive workforce, its proximity to New York City, premier research and educational institutions, a high quality of life and treasured natural resources.
- Agriculture and fishery-related businesses are important economic drivers on Long Island, with Suffolk County ranking first in the state in value of the crops sold.
- The Long Island region has more than half of the solar photovoltaic installations in New York State and the largest solar photovoltaic farm in the eastern United States.
- Residential energy use is the largest contributor to Long Island’s carbon footprint, so ten of the 13 Long Island towns have adopted energy conservation codes that call for new homes to be 20 percent more efficient than state code and require third-party verification of home performance.
Long Island plan highlights:
- Transportation recommendation: Improve transportation options; reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT), fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including expanding rail and bus options, increasing number of employers offering vehicle VMT reduction assistance, improving safety of streets for pedestrians and cyclists, increasing the number of alternative fuel vehicles and reducing long-haul truck traffic through rail freight improvements. Also, encourage development by private and public sectors of a fueling/charging infrastructure available to the public, including market research, planning and incentives/rebates for private charging stations, as well as the maps/mobile apps of current EV charging stations and alternative fuel stations on Long Island and in New York City boroughs.
- Energy recommendation: The plan emphasizes energy-efficiency projects for existing buildings, as they will have great impact on reduction of energy use, are easier to implement, create immediate benefits and sustain long-term results. Paired with doubling local clean and renewable power generation, and a low-carbon approach to transportation, these strategies will create a higher quality of life and ensure a more sustainable future.
- Climate adaptation recommendation: Superstorm Sandy and other extreme weather events make it clear that Long Islanders must take action to reduce risks, make better plans for rapid recovery and ensure that all capital and operational investments combine to improve life and safety outcomes, and to reduce harm in the future. Communities across Long Island can reference the regional sustainability plan as a framework to develop plans and undertake projects that address energy, land use, transportation and other regional systems in an integrated manner, protecting the region from the impact of future storms, reducing peak load demand and enhancing regional resiliency.
The complete Long Island sustainability plan is available at www.cleanergreenerli.org.
In accordance with the Cleaner, Greener Communities program objectives, the plan addresses the following subject areas: energy, transportation, land use and livable communities, waste management, water management, economic development and agriculture/forestry. In addition, each regional planning consortium conducted a GHG emissions study that calculated current GHG emissions and projected GHG reductions that would result from implementing the sustainability plan.
“Through Governor Cuomo’s Cleaner, Greener Communities program, the Long Island will significantly improve the economic development and environmental well-being of its communities. By integrating sustainable growth strategies with regional economic development, this program can create more jobs, greater opportunity and a better quality of life for the region’s residents,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA.
A wide range of stakeholders participated in development of the Long Island sustainability plan, including 300 community, business, labor and local government leaders who participated in working groups and another 500 residents.
The Long Island Cleaner, Greener Consortium, included the towns of Babylon, Brookhaven, East Hampton, Hempstead, Huntington, Islip, North Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Riverhead, Smithtown, and Southampton; Nassau and Suffolk Counties; the Villages of Great Neck Plaza and Port Jefferson and the City of Glen Cove; and other organizations. The Town of North Hempstead led the planning process. The Regional Sustainability Plan was prepared in close collaboration with Regional Plan Association, Community Development Corporation of Long Island, Sustainability Institute at Molloy College and Vision Long Island.
The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Cuomo’s efforts to spur economic development and job creation across New York State. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 REDCs to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships composed of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. As a result of the first two rounds of competitive awards, the State is supporting more than 1,450 regionally significant economic development and community revitalization projects. For more information on the Regional Councils, please visit regionalcouncils.ny.gov.
Funding for the Cleaner, Greener Communities program is through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. For more information on the program, including instructions on submitting grant applications through the Consolidated Funding Application, please visit www.nyserda.ny.gov/Cleaner-Greener.
For further information on the Long Island sustainability growth planning process, please contact Frances Reid, Chief Sustainability Officer, Town of North Hempstead, 516-767-4836.
Stuart Rabinowitz and Kevin Law, Co-chairs of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, said, “Governor Cuomo’s Cleaner, Greener Communities program has both challenged and enabled Long Island to develop a Regional Sustainability Plan that will help shape our region’s economic and environmental future for years to come. The region-wide planning effort produced smart strategies that will lead to a cleaner, more efficient and environmentally friendly Long Island while improving the quality of life in communities throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties. We thank the members of the Long Island consortium for their innovative ideas and hard work, and look forward to continuing our work together as we implement the second phase of Cleaner, Greener Communities.”
North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman said, “I am honored that the Town of North Hempstead was able to play a leadership role in the development of the comprehensive Regional Sustainability Plan for Long Island. By looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint here in North Hempstead and throughout Long island, we will all be better prepared to face the environmental challenges of the future.”
Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone said, “I am proud that the Town of Huntington was part of the public-private partnership that produced the Cleaner Greener Long Island Sustainability Plan, whose goals and strategies outline an important roadmap to the region’s energy independence.”
Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said, “Congratulations to the consortium on a job well done. The LI Cleaner, Greener plan is a shining example of how cooperative planning on a regional basis can lead to healthier and more sustainable communities.”
Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said, “The crafting of this plan has provided a valuable opportunity to think ahead about what is important to Long Island and to devise potential strategies that would enable us to better protect our natural assets and high quality of life. It also puts us in reach of funding that is essential to implementing these innovative solutions.”
Mayor of the Village of Great Neck Plaza Jean Celender said, “The Village of Great Neck Plaza is pleased to be a partner with the participating governments on a shared vision for a LI Cleaner, Greener Plan and its emphasis on sustainability, preserving the use of limited natural resources and developing innovative methods to meet the needs of Long Island's residents and businesses now and in the future.”
Marianne Garvin, President and CEO of Community Development Corporation of Long Island, said, “Through the Cleaner, Greener Sustainability Plan, Long Island communities have worked together to develop strategies and opportunities to improve the environment, grow our workforce and advance sustainable economic growth.”
Neal Lewis, Executive Director of the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College, said, “The Cleaner, Greener Sustainability Plan, provides Long Island with a set of energy strategies that communities can consider adopting to improve the efficiency of homes and buildings, advance adoption of renewable energy, increase market penetration of electric and alternative fuel vehicles, and encourage transition to a 21st century electric grid. These sustainable energy strategies have been analyzed, quantified and vetted as effective ways to reduce Long Island’s carbon footprint while also providing long-term, sustainable job growth and economic development.”
Eric Alexander, Executive Director, Vision Long Island, said, “The Cleaner Greener planning process incorporated recommendations from hundreds of local community, business, environment and municipal leaders to craft a framework for economic growth and environmental preservation. Putting this plan together connected the local work being done community by community to our State officials with the goal to make Long Island a more livable place.