Ancram, already green, eyes climate smart credential

ANCRAM—This town has not yet sworn to uphold the Climate Smart Communities Pledge but it has already taken many climate savvy steps.

Among the bonanza of presentations at the January 21 Town Board meeting was one by Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) member Jane H. Meigs about the benefits Ancram would reap by becoming a Climate Smart Community.

Sponsored by six state agencies–the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Departments of State, Transportation and Health–Climate Smart Communities (CSC) “is a network of New York communities engaged in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving climate resilience,” according to literature provided about the program. It is voluntary and offered at no cost to local governments.

To join CSC, any municipality must adopt a 10-point pledge in which the town vows to: be a CSC; set goals, inventory emissions, plan for climate action; decrease community energy use; increase community use of renewable energy; realize benefits of recycling and other climate-smart solid waste management practices; reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the use of climate-smart land-use tools; enhance community resilience and prepare for the effects of climate change; support development of a green innovation economy; inform and inspire the public and commit to an evolving process of climate action.

Mrs. Meigs said the town could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by creating “carbon sinks” that remove the gasses from the atmosphere, stabilize greenhouse gasses at manageable levels to avoid severe atmospheric changes.

The more measures the town takes to reduce greenhouse gasses the more points it accrues “toward getting money,” she said, adding the program is “flexible” and “well-funded.”

“CSC receive notification of state and federal assistance to help adopt low-carbon technologies and [about] programs and support for efficiency improvements and energy conservation.” CSC get state recognition and assistance from other local governments that have already adopted climate smart practices and policies, says the literature.

The program saves taxpayer money by reducing energy costs and improving operational efficiency. “Climate smart land use practices can lower the cost of infrastructure and public services,” says the program information.

Ancram is already on the climate-smart road with the $220,000 grant it received for a culvert redesign/replacement project, which was also the subject of a presentation at the meeting by Colleen Lutz.

Back in June 2015, Ancram was among the municipalities that adopted a climate change resolution sponsored by Congressman Chris Gibson (R-19th). In part the resolution urged county, state and federal governments “to take prompt and effective measures to rapidly address climate change by promoting and encouraging a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and their associated infrastructure, improvement in the efficiency of energy systems, and the development and installation of renewable energy systems.”

The town’s CAC has already completed a Natural Resource Conservation Plan, which details all the town’s geographic assets, habitats, plants, animals, insects, reptiles, birds, addresses the threats of climate change, poor land development and bad land management practices.

Ancram has also already installed solar panels on the Town Hall roof to collect the sun’s energy for savings on its electric bill.

If Ancram decides to take the CSC pledge it would be in the company of the Town and Village of Chatham, the Town of Kinderhook and the Village of Valatie here in Columbia County and the 6.4 million New Yorkers statewide who live in communities that have already signed on.

The town will consider a resolution to join the CSC program at its February 18 meeting and hear from a program representative at that time.

In addition to its in-depth LED (light emitting diode) presentation (see “Ancram pulls plug on LEDs,” January 28 issue), and the culvert project, the Town Board also heard a presentation from Lynne Perrella about the next and fourth exhibit in the Town Hall’s historic vestibule space.

“Ancram Field Notes/Conservation: Past, Present and Future” will be unveiled to the community by artist/organizer Mrs. Perrella, Sunday, February 21 at 2 p.m.

Wildlife experts from Audubon Sharon will present a program featuring a live hawk and owl.

Ancram Conservationists Jamie Purinton and Mrs. Lutz share insights and expertise about the local landscape and beyond.

Photographer B. Docktor presents a slideshow with music starring the Ancram Summer Camp Kids.

Refreshments will be served.

The board meets next Thursday, February 18 at 7 p.m.

To contact Diane Valden email

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