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Dutchess County Earns Climate Smart Community Certification from DEC
County earns Bronze Level certification in less than a year

Published: 9/27/2019

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus, 845-486-2000

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) certifies the County has earned Bronze Level designation in the New York State-Certified Climate Smart Community program. Dutchess County and the Town of Red Hook are the only local municipalities that have achieved any level of Climate Smart Community Certification designation.

County Executive Molinaro and County Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver established the Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Task Force in November 2018 to review the elements of the Climate Smart Communities program in order to certify Dutchess County as a Bronze Level CSC within 12-18 months. Through its diligence, the County received its certification in just 10 months, completing the mandatory actions and documenting enough priority actions to earn 122 points in the program’s rating system

County Executive Molinaro said, "Dutchess County remains steadfast in its commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and protecting the environment for this generation and the ones that follow. Our county has taken numerous proactive steps to become less dependent on fossil fuels, more energy-efficient, and to promote the use of clean energy, all of which mitigate our impact on our environment. We thank our Climate Smart Communities Task Force for its work to gather the data necessary to develop our CSC submission, and we appreciate the Department of Environmental Conservation’s recognition of our continuous efforts."

Dutchess County has undertaken several initiatives to encourage the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and lower its greenhouse gas emissions, including:

  • installing four electric vehicles (EV) charging stations, available for public use and pursuing increased EV infrastructure throughout the County;
  • adopting a Complete Streets Policy that supports accessibility for alternative transportation methods, such as walking and biking, on County roadways;
  • developing a bicycle/pedestrian plan with proposed improvements to facilitate these uses; 
  • actively participating in the EnergizeNY C-PACE initiative to provide residents with resources to improve home energy efficiency; 
  • actively participating in the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Clean Energy Communities Program; and 
  • entering into a Power Purchase Agreement with Tesla Energy Operations to install a photovoltaic array system on County property, which, when operational, will reduce the County’s dependence on fossil fuels. 

The County also received credit for its hallmark Greenway Compact Program, Greenway Connections and Guides, and the Centers and Greenspaces plan, which seek to promote energy saving, smart growth principles into local planning practices.

Chairman Pulver said, “We are thrilled to have achieved this important milestone. Our Bronze Certification recognizes the significant projects that our County has completed to conserve energy, move to renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, engage and educate residents and otherwise make Dutchess County a more environmentally sustainable community.”

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "I congratulate these communities for taking such critical steps to achieve a significant milestone. Communities across New York State are seeing first-hand the negative effects of climate change and severe weather events. As we continue to find innovative ways to integrate these concerns into daily decision making, it's thrilling to see them all lead by example and complete actions that, together, add up to substantial progress toward reducing their carbon footprints.”

Moving forward, the County’s CSC Task Force will review available grant opportunities offered by the involved programs both to advance the certification process, fund necessary studies and inform municipal governments on the availability of grants for funding specific related projects. 

The County partnered with the Hudson Valley Regional Council (HVRC) on submitting, through the CFA, an application for a Climate Action Planning Institute Dutchess County (CAPI Dutchess) earlier this year. If awarded, the County will complete a local government operations GHG emissions inventory (GHGI) and a government operations climate action plan (CAP).  The CAPI will establish local GHG emissions-reduction targets and identify strategies to achieve their goals as part of their Climate Action Plan development.

More information about Dutchess County’s CSC Committee is available on its webpage