From left: Ken Lynch (DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner), John Becker (Chairman, Madison County Board of Supervisors) and Scott Ingmire (Director, Madison County Planning Department)
Last Friday, DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner Ken Lynch and DEC Regional Director Matthew Marko congratulated County Chairman Becker and presented him with two street signs highlighting the county’s certification at an event at the Madison County Agriculture and Renewable Energy Park in Lincoln, New York. The DEC recognized Madison County as the tenth local government in the State to be designated a Certified Climate Smart Community and announced the award of a $15,000 grant to right-size the Madison County fleet.
Madison County Joins a Network of Local Leaders
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. In addition to Madison County, nine other local governments have completed a rigorous review process to be designated Certified Climate Smart Communities: Ulster County (bronze), City of Kingston (bronze), Village of Dobbs Ferry (bronze), Town of Mamaroneck, Town of East Hampton, Town of Cortlandt, Orange County, City of Albany, and City of Watervliet. These Certified Climate Smart Communities represent New York’s foremost leaders in local climate action.
Madison County's Accomplishments
“I applaud Madison County municipal leaders’ commitment to reducing energy use and investing in locally generated clean energy,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “The county is a model for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while bolstering economic vitality. Madison County has shown exceptional leadership, and I congratulate County Chairman John Becker and his staff.”
Madison County has built a strong foundation for climate action through community outreach and extensive planning, including greenhouse gas inventories and a comprehensive Energy and Sustainability Plan. The Energy and Sustainability Plan includes strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while improving quality of life in the county. The plan also includes actions to help build resiliency to anticipated extreme weather events and flooding that are the results of a changing climate. Such adaptation is a priority for a region that was hit hard by intense rainfall events in 2013 that caused millions of dollars of damage.
Madison County has demonstrated its commitment to reducing energy use by conducting comprehensive energy audits and upgrading to light-emitting diode (LED) technology in government buildings. In addition, the county installed a 50-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) array and is one of the first communities in the nation to install a flexible solar PV cap on its local landfill.
Innovation through Partnerships
Madison County also earned innovation points toward certification for a unique public-private partnership between the county and a local lumber company at the Agriculture and Renewable Energy Park. The county harvests methane gas from its active landfill and uses it to fuel an electrical generator. Cazenovia-based Johnson Brothers Lumber then uses the waste heat from this gas-to-energy facility to dry lumber in a kiln sited on the property. The gas-to-energy facility also provides heat to other county buildings that are part of the landfill complex. The Agriculture and Renewable Energy Park exemplifies Madison County’s commitment to building a vibrant green economy and preserving the natural beauty of the region.
“Caring for our beautiful landscape and abundant natural resources has always been part of our way of life in Madison County,” said John Becker, Madison County Board of Supervisors Chairman. “We are proud to be recognized as a Certified Climate Smart Community because it acknowledges the hard work, innovative thinking and collaboration of multiple departments and municipal partners. This designation reflects our deep commitment to be good stewards of the environment for generations to come.”