October 30

CUOMO ANNOUNCES COMPREHENSIVE AGENDA TO ADDRESS THE LONG TERM NEEDS OF NEW YORK STATE’S ENVIRONMENT

by Cuomo 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              CONTACT: Josh Vlasto, (347) 268-0240

October 30, 2010                                                                     pressoffice@andrewcuomo.com

 CUOMO ANNOUNCES COMPREHENSIVE AGENDA TO ADDRESS THE LONG TERM NEEDS OF NEW YORK STATE’S ENVIRONMENT

Cleaner, Greener NY Outlines Innovative Ways to Build Sustainable Communities, Increase Energy Efficiencies, Develop Alternative Vehicles, Protect Natural Resources and Strengthen Environmental Justice Programs

Cuomo’s Agenda Endorsed by Key Environmental Groups Including League of Conservation Voters and Sierra Club

 Agenda Available at www.AndrewCuomo.com/GreenNY <http://www.AndrewCuomo.com/GreenNY>

Andrew Cuomo today unveiled A Cleaner, Greener NY – a comprehensive agenda to address the long term environmental needs of New York State.  The plan focuses on encouraging sustainable communities through the creation of a competitive grant program, increasing energy efficiencies and renewable energies to stimulate investment in solar energy, strengthening environmental justice programs to improve the quality of life for low income residents, developing alternative vehicles and environmentally friendly public transportation options and protecting our natural resources including our open spaces and farmland. 

“New York has historically been at the forefront of environmental protection efforts,” said Cuomo. “As Secretary of HUD and as Attorney General environmental protection has been one of my central concerns. As Governor, I look forward to expanding New York’s commitment to environmental justice and building on other government partnerships with local advocates. Those alliances have achieved great work in the past, and I will ensure that my Administration places these issues at the forefront once again so that New York returns to its place as a national environmental leader.”

“The protection and improvement of our environment is more than an investment in the quality of life for New Yorkers, it can also benefit our economy for years to come. We must invest in the creation of green jobs while reducing pollution, increasing energy efficiency and protecting our water resources – all while helping to foster greener, environmentally friendly business opportunities,” added Cuomo.

Environmental groups endorsed Cuomo’s plan. 

“New York State is at a crossroads. We need a governor who will help restore faith in government, fix broken agencies and help transition New York to a thriving innovation economy,” said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “Throughout his career in public service, Andrew Cuomo has demonstrated his commitment to greater environmental sustainability. And he has a fiscally prudent plan to help New York become the nation’s leader in solar, wind and other renewable power. Andrew Cuomo is the right choice for New York’s environment, and we are proud to endorse him for governor.”

"I have reviewed Environmental Agenda outlined by the Cuomo 2010 campaign.  This exciting proposal is a bold step forward to protect the State's environment. I support it and expect it to receive broad enthusiasm from the state's environmental community,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.  “I also strongly endorse Andrew's candidacy and believe he will bring experience, independence and integrity to the State government. I will be voting for him and urge all New Yorkers to do the same."

“As Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo cracked down on polluters, enforced reductions in green house gas emissions, and helped create a fair playing field for renewable energy technology," said Susan Lawrence Chair of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. "We are excited by what he will do for the environment as governor. The Sierra Club proudly gives him our endorsement."

"We were delighted to see Andrew Cuomo's bold commitment to shaping a new environmental and conservation agenda,” said Fred Rich, chairs the coalition of New York State's environmental leaders. “Crafted within the context of severe State fiscal constraints, the policy agenda still holds great promise for high-performance environmental agencies, creation of green jobs within a sustainable economy, and strategic land conservation and farmland preservation. Andrew Cuomo's commitment to ensuring the Environmental Protection Fund is utilized solely for its legislatively intended purposes is a breath of fresh air. A reliable stream of environmental project funding will strengthen the economy and job creation in the near term, while ensuring our natural resources remain the foundation of our long-term prosperity."

"We are pleased the Cuomo platform includes keeping watersheds sacrosanct from adverse hydrofraking impacts, a clear commitment that the EPF will be used for the purpose in which it was created, and strong recognition that environmental protection is an economic driver,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “This agenda recognizes that our current economic challenges are not an impediment to protecting our environment but rather they are an incentive.”

The Greener, Cleaner NY Agenda includes the following proposals:

Encourage Sustainable Communities

Create a Competitive “Cleaner Greener Communities Competitive Grant Program” to Incentivize Sustainable Communities.  The centerpiece of the Cleaner, Greener NY Agenda will be to award grants based upon innovative comprehensive regional plans that coordinate sustainability efforts in housing, transportation, emissions and energy efficiency, among others, and that takes into account the cumulative impacts of prior development. Key elements of this plan will include an emphasis on urban revitalization, development and expansion of the Climate Smart Communities program, a focus on “green” instead of “gray” infrastructure, a coordinated environmental approach with input from environmental justice communities and improved public transportation infrastructure. 

Energy Efficiency

Increase energy efficiencies and renewable energy.  Increase energy efficiency by increasing financing for energy efficiency projects including Property Assessed Clean Energy (“PACE”) and “on-bill recovery”; create renewable energy tax credits to stimulate investment in solar energy; enact a new fuel neutral power plant generation law and increase renewables, like wind energy.

Green Jobs

Expand the Green Jobs Corps Training Program. Key to the State’s economic revitalization will be the expansion of the NY Green Jobs Corps. As part of this plan, we will partner with local governments, universities and other communities to encourage the expansion of local green jobs programs to help New Yorkers get back to work, while simultaneously helping to improve the environment. 

Environmental Justice

Strengthen Environmental Justice. Ensure that the public health and quality of life interests of low-income and minority communities are well-represented and partner with the environmental justice community to strengthen environmental protections in low income and minority communities.  The plan includes, protecting the needs of the Environmental Justice communities by requiring an analysis of health and cumulative impacts of emissions in the affected area and the availability of intervenor fund in any new power plant generation siting law (known as Article X); working to ensure the continued funding of the Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant Program; undertaking a comprehensive review of environmental justice concerns in the State’s Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) process; examining ways to strengthen the current Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Justice Policy so it gives more robust assurance that adequate consideration is given to environmental justice and fostering and strengthening partnerships with community-based organizations that have been successful in cleaning up their communities.

Alternative Vehicles

Incentivize and Develop Alternative Vehicles and Environmentally-Friendly Public Transportation.

  • High Speed Rail. Ensure that New York has done the work necessary to put itself in a position to win more critical federal grants to upgrade our rail system at reasonable cost to enable a reliable service that averages 100 miles per hour between New York City and Albany, Albany and Buffalo, and points in between. 
  • Alternative Fuel Vehicles. Develop and fostering the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles. Examine various pilot programs, including the pilot hydrogen vehicle program in Rochester, in order to determine how the State can best achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas pollution, while remaining cognizant of financial concerns that may hinder infrastructure investments.
  • Retrofitting Public Transportation Systems to Improve the Environment. Encourage the acquisition of more hybrid buses, which are one of the most cost effective and flexible forms of public transportation lines, in our metropolitan areas.
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure. The State’s transportation agencies should consider bicycle lanes, lane striping, paved shoulders, signage, crosswalks, pedestrian control signals, curb cuts, and ramps to ensure New York’s streets are safe and encourage these forms of transportation.

Protect Our Natural Resources

  • Protecting Our Natural Resources. Fighting Invasive Species. The State must work to find creative ways to combat invasive species, including by increase the effectiveness of quarantines through education efforts in affected and surrounding communities.
  • Protect Open Space.  Work to protect open space, a cheaper more sustainable solution to reduce the need for expensive infrastructure projects.
  • Urban Open Space. Partner with local municipalities, non-profits, and residents to identify and prioritize land parcels that are suitable for acquisition based on the potential to connect and protect existing natural open space area. In addition, the State should repurpose unused State land for public recreational use, and encourage the dedication of abandoned lots and underutilized parkland in low-income communities for community gardens and urban farms.
  • Private-Public Park Partnerships. Work to increase public/private partnerships to ensure that our natural resources are protected and that communities are involved in the stewardship of their local parklands.
  • Promote Farmland Protection. The State should collaborate with preservation organizations, which work with farmers to obtain conservation easements and other farmland protections and encourage forward-thinking practices that contribute to the long-term economic sustainability of our farms and work to address the backlog of uncompleted farmland protection projects.

 

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