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Governor Cuomo Launches Grant Program For Projects to Support Cleaner, Greener Communities in Central New York

Press Release

Location: Albany, NY

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $30 in the first round of funding for the implementation of regional sustainability plans, including a plan recently endorsed by the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council. The plans were developed under the governor's $100 million Cleaner, Greener Communities program, a major statewide initiative to invest in smart growth planning and sustainability.

"This first round of funding will put each region's 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."

VisionCNY, as the plan is called, outlines the region's vision, goals and objectives for a sustainable future, identifies a number of regional assets and makes recommendations for building on those assets. It provides a framework that leverages the area's unique character and assets, and integrates and advances its natural, built, human and social and financial capital, which serve as the foundations of it environment, economy and society.

A consortium of dozens of municipal leaders and organizations completed the plan, which estimates that, if fully implemented, the plan will help generate thousands of jobs in Central New York while lowering energy costs by nearly $1 billion and eliminating 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

Central New York plan statistics:

- More than 16 percent of commuters report traveling to work by carpool, public transit, biking or walking, yet the transportation sector still contributes to 43 percent of the region's greenhouse gas emissions.
- The region consumes approximately 6.2 million megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity but produces more than 25 million MWh of electricity, equivalent to approximately 14.5 percent of the state's total generation.
- Central New York's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are 13 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), far below the national average of 22 metric tons of CO2e.
- There are nearly 3,600 farms in Central New York comprising more than 813,000 acres of crop land.
- The region currently recycles or composts 43.5 percent of all waste, compared to 36 percent for New York State.

Central New York Plan highlights

The Plan sets out a vision for sustainable development that includes strategic recommendations designed, among other things, to achieve smart growth and improve resiliency, preserve open space, increase energy efficiency and renewable energy generation, achieve a self-sufficient "zero waste" future, improve water quality and water efficiency, and create jobs.

- Energy conservation recommendation: Implement a comprehensive energy conservation campaign in Central New York, along with long-term institutional investments in solar PV, geothermal, wind, hydropower and biomass resources. These actions will reduce the region's energy consumption by 40 percent and meet 25 percent of the region's electricity needs through renewable sources by 2030.
- Develop urban centers recommendation: Capitalize on proposed projects, such as for Syracuse Inner Harbor, Finger Lakes Music Festival in Auburn and the waterfront in Oswego. With these actions, the region can stimulate investment and population growth within established communities, leveraging existing infrastructure and preserving open space.
- Water quality and efficiency recommendation: Meet water quality and water efficiency objectives set by the region. With this action, the region can preserve this resource for the future and competitively differentiate itself from water-scarce parts of the United States as a sensible location for business development.

The complete Central New York sustainability plan is available at

In accordance with 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 Cuomo's Cleaner, Greener Communities program, the Central New York 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 region's residents," said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA.

A wide range of stakeholders participated in development of the Central New York plan, including a professional planning team, focus group participants and more than 300 people from across the five-county region.

The consortium was comprised of representatives from Cayuga County, Cortland County, Madison County, Onondaga County, Oswego County, City of Syracuse, City of Oswego, City of Auburn, Town of Dewitt, Town of Skaneateles, Town of Cazenovia, Town of Preble, Village of Skaneateles, and Village of Fayetteville. The Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board led the planning process for the region.

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Cuomo's 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

Funding for the program is through the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative. For more information on the program, including instructions about submitting grant proposals through the Consolidated Funding Application, please visit

For further information on the Central New York sustainability growth planning process, please contact David Bottar at 315-422-8276.

"Sustainability must be front and center in our conversations about economic development," said Robert Simpson, President of CenterState CEO, and Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Syracuse University, Co-chairs of the Central New York REDC. "In Central New York, developing systems and approaches for a more sustainable environment is part of our industrial DNA. Governor Cuomo's Cleaner, Greener Communities program challenges regions across the state to think 50 years ahead. We appreciate the work of the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board and will look to incorporate these approaches in our planning efforts."

Kathleen Rapp, Chairwoman, Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, said, "I am very pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this comprehensive planning process over the past 12 months. I believe the CNY Regional Sustainability Plan will provide a very important framework that can be used by communities across Central New York to chart a path toward a sustainable future."

L. Michael Treadwell, Executive Director, Operation Oswego County Inc., said, "VisionCNY is a comprehensive plan that has been carefully calibrated to meet the needs of communities across our five-county region. The plan is both an action-oriented guide and long-term strategy that can be used by community leaders to make investments that will help ensure the region can meet the needs of future generations."

R. Leland Davis, President & COO, O'Brien and Gere Inc., said, "The development of the CNY Regional Sustainability Plan is an important milestone in our community's efforts to advance a long-term vision for the region. The goals, strategies and project recommendations incorporated in the plan will help advance several important public policy initiatives in Central New York, including those regarding infrastructure, energy management and resource conservation."

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