State Designates Southampton a Certified Climate Smart Community
Supports Governor's Goal to Reduce Statewide Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40 Percent by 2030
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the town of Southampton as the 16th Certified Climate Smart Community in New York State. With this designation, Southampton is recognized for its actions to strengthen resiliency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This achievement supports the Governor's aggressive goals to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and reduce emissions 80 percent by 2050. Launched in 2014, the Climate Smart Communities Certification Program recognizes local governments that have taken action to reduce emissions and protect their communities from a changing climate. More information is available here.
"New York continues to lead the nation in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and as communities across the state step up to help achieve climate goals, we are laying the foundation for a stronger New York for generations to come," Governor Cuomo said. "I commend the town of Southampton for its ongoing efforts to support clean energy initiatives, and I encourage all of New York's municipalities to follow its example to help combat climate change."
The town of Southampton has taken action to prevent further climate change by focusing on energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy sources. Southampton completed building energy audits for several town facilities and it supports programs like Long Island Green Homes where residents can get free home energy assessments. Southampton has also helped residents to shift toward clean modes of transportation by improving local infrastructure that facilitates bicycling and walking, such as upgrades to bike lanes and way-finding signage. In addition, the town reduced its carbon footprint by purchasing a three-kilowatt solar electric array that was installed on the Tiana Bayside Parks facility earlier this year.
Southampton has also implemented a series of land-use policies that protect wetlands, pine barrens, and the local aquifer. Protecting natural areas in this way supports water quality, ecosystem resilience and helps reduce the impacts of flooding and sea-level rise that the town faces as a result of climate change.
Southampton is home to the first East Coast municipal park to be a certified AGZA Green Zone where routine landscape maintenance is performed using emissions-free manual techniques and electric equipment that draws on New York's relatively clean power grid. For this unique initiative, the town earned innovation bonus points under the Climate Smart Communities Certification Program.
Clean Energy Community
NYSERDA's Clean Energy Communities initiative recognizes municipalities that complete four or more of 10 high-impact clean energy actions, one of which is earning the Climate Smart Communities Certification designation. Designated Clean Energy Communities are eligible to apply for grants of up to $250,000 with no local cost share to support additional clean energy projects. More information is available here.
In addition to being designated as a Certified Climate Smart Community, Southampton has completed the following clean energy actions:
- Partnered with a local non-profit to run a community-based solarize campaign to provide public education and outreach to reduce solar project cost through joint purchasing
- Completed energy code enforcement training on best practices for code compliance officers and other municipal officials
- Unified Solar Permit
- Clean fleets
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "I applaud the town of Southampton for its commitment to preserving natural areas and for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by improving energy efficiency and shifting to clean energy sources. I congratulate Supervisor Schneiderman and town staff on achieving Climate Smart Communities Certification, and I hope others are inspired by their example."
"Congratulations to Southampton on being designated as a Certified Climate Smart Community," said Alicia Barton, President and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. "The town has already shown its embrace of sustainability as a NYSERDA Clean Energy Community and this designation further demonstrates its commitment to building a cleaner and more sustainable community for its residents."
Senator Ken LaValle said, "The communities of the East End of Long Island have long been leaders in protecting our environment. I commend the Town of Southampton for taking a strong, proactive role in illustrating measures that improve energy efficiency and utilize clean, renewable energy, improving resiliency, while also reducing greenhouse emissions. Congratulations to everyone involved that resulted in the Clean Climate Smart Community designation."
Assemblyman and Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright said, "The Town of Southampton deserves congratulations for becoming a Certified Climate Smart Community. Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving climate resilience could not be more important for Long Islanders. This achievement should be honored and hopefully will spur other local Governments to action."
Assemblyman Fred Thiele said, "I congratulate the Town of Southampton for gaining certification as a 'Climate Smart Community'. Southampton has worked hard in recent years to implement a series of policies and capital projects such as the Community Preservation Fund, to reduce greenhouse gases and protect natural resources. No part of the state would be as adversely impacted by sea level rise and other impacts of climate change as eastern Long Island with its hundreds of miles of coast line. New York State, by partnering with local government and other states, is insuring that we do our part as part of the US Climate Alliance to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Accords."
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said, "This designation fits into the plan I have for the Town to achieve 100% renewable sourced electric power by 2025. We believe the Town will continue to make great strides to reduce costs and save the environment."
Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming said, “As a coastal community, we on eastern Long Island feel a particular urgency to reduce carbon emissions and the related impacts of climate change. I applaud the leadership of Governor Cuomo, Supervisor Schneiderman, and all the members of the Southampton Town Board for their leadership on the issue. I look forward to supporting the Town’s important goals through my Legislative office and through the Suffolk County Legislature’s Renewable Energy Construction Task Force.”
Alison Branco, Coastal Director, The Nature Conservancy on Long Island, said, "We applaud Southampton for joining the Climate Smart Communities program, taking measures to become more resilient, and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, the leading cause of climate change. This year's hurricane season was devastating and is a painful reminder that storms are increasing in both severity and frequency, a problem made worse by sea level rise. Climate change is a serious threat to our communities and our way of life here on Long Island. We commend Governor Cuomo, NYS DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos, and Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman for their leadership in preparing our coastal communities for the realities of our climate changing world."
Robert S. DeLuca, President, Group for the East End, said, "As one of the oldest coastal communities in New York State, Southampton Town stands on the front line of climate change and its residents live with growing risks of a rising ocean each and every day. As a result, we applaud the Town's leadership and commitment to become actively involved in strengthening its coastal resiliency, reducing greenhouse gasses, and making a measurable contribution to the Governor's statewide goals for greenhouse gas reduction throughout the State."
This announcement complements Governor Cuomo's leadership in establishing the U.S. Climate Alliance with California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee. The three states formed the alliance in response to the federal government's decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord. The alliance is convening U.S. states committed to achieving the U.S. goal of reducing emissions 26-28 percent from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan. Announced by New York, California and Washington State, the alliance now includes 15 states, including Puerto Rico. With input from all participants, the U.S. Climate Alliance also acts as a forum to sustain and strengthen existing climate programs, promote the sharing of information and best practices, and implement new programs to reduce carbon emissions from all sectors of the economy.