By Dean Gallea
Westchester County has been awarded a $100k grant from New York State to fund its Climate Action Planning Institute (CAPI) program. The CAPI Westchester project will in turn assist nine municipalities, including Tarrytown, Irvington and Hastings, in completing or updating their greenhouse gas inventories (GHGIs), a crucial part of their individual efforts to produce Climate Action Plans and gain recognition as Climate Smart Communities within the State.
As lead applicant and project participant, Westchester County’s project team will include municipal staff and appointed members from its Climate Smart Communities Task Force. In Tarrytown, for example, Village Administrator Rich Slingerland and Assistant Josh Ringel will lead their village’s team, with assistance from the Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council (TEAC), its Trustee Liaison Robert Hoyt, and others when needed. The Hudson Valley Regional Council will guide participants in the development of their greenhouse gas inventories and Climate Action Plans.
Westchester Director of Energy & Sustainability Peter McCartt said: “My office, and our Task Force, are charged with finding ways to make Westchester more energy efficient as we move away from fossil fuels. This funding will give us an even greater opportunity to do just that while forging even greater deeper partnerships with our local municipalities by having a replicable model plan for all.”
On completion of the plan, the County and partner municipalities will present their results at a final working group meeting and to their respective environmental committees and elected officials.
Said Carole Griffiths, TEAC council member: “This is very exciting for Tarrytown. The Environmental Council, with an intern, did our GHG inventory in 2012 and it badly needs updating, and this grant will help us accomplish this. The village needs a Climate Action Plan, the sooner the better, to help us prepare for the consequences of climate change.”
Tarrytown has also applied for a separate NYS DEC grant to fund a village-wide public-space tree inventory and tree management plan. The purpose of that grant is to work with the Mayor and Board, the Tree Committee, TEAC and village staff to plant at least 100 native-species trees per year. Trees are a major mitigating factor against greenhouse gas emissions.