Plattsburgh leaders recently announced an Energy and Resiliency plan aimed at reducing the city’s carbon footprint and power costs. The announcement came on the same day councilors adopted the New York state Climate Smart Communities pledge.
The 58-point Energy and Economic Resiliency proposal for the city includes offering rebates and incentives for residents who adopt energy efficiency programs. As Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read stood outside City Hall to unveil the plan, he noted that the city is already a very green community. “While our planet is at a crossroads, national institutions accomplish little. We can do something locally though by viewing concern about our carbon footprint, efficiency in our energy consumption, accessibility to affordable sustenance locally, and improvements in our community infrastructure not as luxuries but as necessities for our city’s sustainability. We must also accommodate residents who are renters or are on fixed income. With these in mind, I propose voluntary measures that are incentive-driven, rely on human initiative and entrepreneurship, and save the city and its residents money, generate jobs, and encourage environmental and economic resiliency without threatening our financial sustainability.”
The proposal includes creation of an energy resiliency plan with energy audits of city government buildings. Composting of municipal organic waste by 2025 and methane recycling at the city wastewater plant by 2030 would be implemented to reduce greenhouse gases. The proposal also calls for the creation of a Climate Smart Community Task Force. Mayor Read says proposed programs and policies are innovative and save residents money. “At the end of this we would like to be able to declare and brand our city of Plattsburgh as 100 percent renewable. Already most all of our power as you know comes from renewable sources, hydroelectricity. We do buy a little bit of extra power each year for those very cold winter days when we exceed our quota. But we want to explore if we could also buy some of that extra electric power from some sort of green or renewable source. We’re working on exploring that option as well so we can really make that statement that we’re 100 percent green 100 percent of the time just not 98 percent of the time as we currently are.”
Ward 1 Democrat Rachelle Armstrong advocated that the city adopt the New York state Climate Smart Communities pledge. She says the mayor’s proposal interconnects with the goals of that incentive. “The Climate Smart Communities Program will enable us to really address many of these action items very directly. The first step that would be taken would be to appoint a Climate Smart Communities Task Force made up of community residents, city councilors and really pull together a strategy for how we’re going to accomplish these action items.”
Armstrong believes there is an urgency to take action and city leaders must implement policies to do what they can to deal with climate change. “If there are still questions about climate change it is our duty to show people the scientific evidence, the indisputable evidence, that we have about 12 years to reduce carbon emissions and prevent terrible devastation. We will still have to adapt to what we’ve already generated in terms of carbon in the atmosphere. Part of this plan addresses that. So I think we’re going to be an educational and action based task force and I believe that youths’ involvement will be pivotal to its success.”