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Source: Long Island Business News

Town scores $80K to cut energy costs, pollution

BY ADINA GENN

Posted: January 2, 2019
Originally Published: December 31, 2018

The Town of Hempstead was awarded an $80,000 grant from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to develop an energy and sustainability master plan to help slash the municipality’s carbon footprint and energy costs.

According to the DEC, the plan will include updating the town’s energy, fleet, and greenhouse gas inventory data and assessing all energy and sustainability related polices. The analysis will aim to indicate where the town made progress and highlight opportunities for improvement, addition of new policies or programs, or expansion of existing programs.

Officials say that last year the town spent nearly $8 million in gas and electric. But each year, they say, those costs increase by an average of 3.2 percent even if its energy consumption stays the same.

“The development of a green innovation economy is not only beneficial to the environment, it is better for the bottom-line, saving taxpayers money,” Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen said in a statement.

“By setting goals to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels and making purchases that are more environmentally friendly, we can combat the disastrous effects of climate change,” she said.

“A comprehensive sustainability plan is important for the betterment of the environment in the Town of Hempstead,” State Sen. Todd Kaminsky said in a statement.

He said that by implementing the plan, the town would “become a leader in advancing renewable energy.”

As a proponent of protecting the environment, Kaminsky said earlier this year that “we need to be aggressive and we need to act quickly, but we need to be thoughtful.”

In July, the town became the largest local municipality in the state to take the “climate smart communities pledge,” officials said. That meant pledging to reduce community energy use and the discharge of pollutants into the environment, while increasing the use of renewable resources.

The pledge also calls for boosting local resiliency projects and other public works to prepare for the effects of climate change that can endanger the town’s infrastructure and economy and that might also pose health threats to the community.

That commitment scored high marks from advocates for the environment.

“The South Shore of Long Island is currently engaged in an historic battle to protect our communities from climate change impacts,” Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said in a statement.

The pledge “will have a positive impact locally and regionally. Reducing greenhouse gases, saving tax dollars, and fighting climate change is just good government,” she added.