June 27, 2013
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Launches Grant Program for Projects to Support Cleaner, Greener Communities in Mohawk Valley

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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 Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council. The plans were developed under the governors $100 million Cleaner, Greener Communities program, a major statewide initiative to invest in planning and sustainability and sustainability.


This first round of funding will put each regions 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 Mohawk Valley Cleaner, Greener Communities Sustainability Plan provides the framework to create a vibrant and sustainable regional economy balanced with the conservation, protection and replenishment of the regions critical natural resources. A consortium of dozens of municipal leaders and organizations completed the plan, which estimates, through full implementation of 25 specific project types proven to be successful on a small scale, greenhouse gases emissions in the region could be reduced by 40 percent below the 1990 levels by 2025. These actions are grouped into three theme areas that focus on education, efficiency, and economics, and are expected to increase economic activity in the region and create jobs.


Mohawk Valley plan statistics:

  • While most of electricity generated in the Mohawk Valley Region is from renewable sources (98 percent), much of the electricity consumed is imported from other areas of the state (86 percent).
  • Fossil fuels for home heating consume 66 million BTU per capita in the Mohawk Valley, well above the 57 million BTU/capita used on average in New York State.
  • Abundant natural resources are a significant tourist attraction, with Oneida County alone representing $1.1 billion in visitor spending and more than 16,000 jobs.

Mohawk Valley plan highlights:

  • Education recommendation: Promote, incentivize and provide technical assistance for the development of small-scale composting facilities for institutions and businesses. This would reduce 20 percent of the organic material from the regions waste stream and would eliminate emissions of 3,800 metric tons of CO2 equivalent annually.
  • Efficiency recommendation: Develop low-head and small hydropower facilities. The Mohawk Valley cities and villages are almost all in valleys with water supplies located several hundred feet up the hillsides. This action could save up to 50 percent of the energy used for water treatment.
  • Economics recommendation: Conduct building stock inventory to identify priorities for redevelopment and reinvestment of housing stock and to promote home-ownership. The region has a large stock of abandoned or under-utilized industrial and commercial buildings. Re-using these buildings will create jobs and turn liabilities into assets.

    The complete Mohawk Valley sustainability plan is available at http://www.sustainablemohawkvalley.com.


    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 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions study that calculated current GHG emissions and projected GHG reductions that would result from implementing the sustainability plan.


    Through Governor Cuomos Cleaner, Greener Communities program, the Mohawk Valley 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 regions residents, said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA.


    A wide range of stakeholders participated in development of the Mohawk Valley sustainability plan, including 25 consortium members from all six of the regions counties, 150 professionals in working groups and 200 stakeholders attending public meetings.


    The Mohawk Valley coalition is comprised of Otsego County, Schoharie County, Fulton County, Montgomery County, Herkimer County, Oneida County, City of Oneonta Environmental Board, Leatherstocking Corporation and The Clark Foundation, Village of Cooperstown, Schoharie County Planning and Development Agency, Fulton County Planning Department, Fulton County Soil and Water Conservation District, Fulton Montgomery Community College, Orion Management Co. Inc., Otsego County Soil and Water, City of Utica - Industrial Development Agency, City of Utica - Economic Development & Planning, City of Rome - Department of Community & Economic Development, City of Rome - Community Development & Planning, Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful. The Otsego County Planning Department led the planning process for the region.


    The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Cuomos 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 program, including instructions on submitting grant proposals through the Consolidated Funding Application, please visit www.nyserda.ny.gov/Cleaner-Greener.


    For further information on the Mohawk Valley sustainability growth planning process, please contact Karen Sullivan, Planning Director, Otsego County Department of Planning and Solid Waste, (607) 547-4225, sullivank@otsegocounty.com.


    Larry Gilroy, President, Gilroy, Kernan & Gilroy, Inc. and Co-Chair of the Mohawk Valley REDC, said, Complementing the MVREDCs strategic plan, our sustainability plan will enable the Mohawk Valley to realize its full potential as an efficient and economically vibrant region. The plan looks to build on three core objectiveseducation, efficiency, and economics to conserve energy and promote smart growth, and we thank all those across our region for contributing to the final blueprint.


    Bjong Wolf Yeigh, President of SUNYIT and Co-Chair of the Mohawk Valley REDC, said, This is a great step forward toward a cleaner, greener Mohawk Valleyone that will balance growth with a wise use of our natural resources. Thanks to Governor Cuomos leadership and the continued hard work of the Mohawk Valley REDC and the communities across our region, we now have a framework for building an energy-efficient, sustainable future.


    Richard P. Miller Jr., Mayor of Oneonta, said, While we feel that we have worked hard on the issues related to a sustainable future, the regional planning effort has brought additional focus on how we can do more, in collaboration with other nearby governments.


    Steve DiMeo, President, Mohawk Valley EDGE, said, Formulating a sustainability plan that dovetails with the regional council strategies will help ensure smart growth and sustainable development in a coordinated way throughout our region. Raymond J. Durso, Jr., Executive Director, The Genesis Group, said, The Mohawk Valley is a much stronger region when we work together. The New Sustainability Plan will offer us more opportunities to continue to create positive impact for our residents.