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DEC critical of Cochecton’s Climate Action Plan

By Linda Drollinger
June 19, 2013

At the June 12 monthly meeting of the Cochecton Town Board, the cursory review of correspondence directed to supervisor Gary Maas was unusually remarkable. A letter from Mark DePaul Lowery, Climate Policy Analyst with the Office of Climate Change at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, was openly critical of Town of Cochecton Resolution 29, Climate Smart Community Pledge.

The letter stated in part, “I appreciate the town board’s passage of this resolution to adopt the Climate Smart Community Pledge but, upon review of the adopted resolution, I have noticed that the adopted resolution does not include the following pledge elements: ‘pledge to combat change by becoming a Climate Smart community; set goals, inventory emissions, move to action; plan for adaption to unavoidable climate change; support a green innovation economy.’

“I grant that pledge element one is redundant with the action of adopting the pledge, but the agencies that sponsor the Climate Smart Communities program believe that, even allowing for the great diversity of local community circumstances, priorities and aspirations, there is room for local action on all aspects of the pledge, if not immediately, then in the future… Moreover those agencies that award preference points to Climate Smart Communities on competitive grant applications must be assured that communities so designated have expressed the same level of commitment… Adoption of the complete pledge will be required of all communities seeking certification.”

After reading the letter aloud in its entirety, Maas explained the rationale behind Cochecton’s selective editing of the Climate Smart Community Pledge furnished by Sullivan County. The board was unaware that towns were initially required to adopt all elements of the pledge in order to be certified as Climate Smart Communities, and so Cochecton pledged adoption of only those elements on which the town can currently deliver. Action on adoption of the entire pledge was left open.