GOSHEN – County Executive Steve Neuhaus announced that Orange County was recently among the first statewide to be certified under the new state Climate Smart Communities Program. Orange County’s selection was announced on Earth Day, April 22, by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens. Orange County Planning Commissioner David Church attended the ceremony in Watervliet, Albany County.
"The example of Orange County proves that you can grow your local economy while growing smart and environmentally safe," said County Executive Steve Neuhaus. "Our Planning Department has set the standard for sustainable growth in the Hudson Valley and our designation as one of the first certified Climate Smart Communities proves it."
The Climate Smart Communities Program is a coordinated, interagency partnership that supports local governments in their efforts to "meet the economic, social, and environmental challenges posed by climate change and prepare for potential weather-related impacts," according to the DEC. The certification process confirms that Orange County has taken voluntary steps to curb its greenhouse gas emissions, support recycling and solid-waste management, and develop improved land-use rules. Counties, cities, towns, and villages can join the voluntary program by adopting the Climate Smart Communities Pledge; to date, 125 local governments have taken the pledge to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and "go green."
"This recognition reflects the work of many staff and volunteers. Orange County is honored to be accredited in this very first round, and we will continue to move forward advancing actions that make sense for the county, the region, and our constituents," said Planning Commissioner Church.