With climate change becoming a concern to millions of Americans, Putnam County is looking to do its part to be more environmentally sound.
During an economic committee meeting last week, lawmakers looked into turning Putnam into a Climate Smart Community, which is a program aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving climate resistance. The program is run by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and helps municipalities have the best practices to combat climate change.
Legislator Nancy Montgomery, a Democrat, brought the idea forward during the Feb. 21 meeting.
The concept has been brought up a couple times prior to Montgomery coming onto the legislative body. It was first introduced in 2015 by Legislator Ginny Nacerino and then later on by former lawmaker Barbara Scuccimarra. Currently, Philipstown is the only town in the county striving to become a Climate Smart Community.
Touring different facilities and speaking with different department heads, Montgomery said the county is already working toward tasks that would make Putnam eligible to be a Climate Smart Community. There are several pledges the county would need to work toward in order to be fully certified.
“It was clear to me that we’re well on our way to accomplishing this so why not take advantage of this resource,” she said.
With lawmakers expressing enough interest, Montgomery said she would tap into the regional network of the DEC for assistance and noted Philipstown residents would be willing to offer more guidance.
Once the county becomes “climate smart,” grant funding would then be available. Philipstown received $6,000 for its informational campaign, Montgomery said.
“It’s a really great way to get your community together,” Montgomery said.
Nacerino once again showed support for the initiative and Legislator Amy Sayegh also noted the county is striving toward these climate smart goals. Grants should be pursued if possible, Sayegh said. A task force would need to be formed and a formal resolution would need to be passed.
Legislator Toni Addonizio said the pledge would require workshops and the distribution of information through mailings and local media. She wanted more information before signing off on anything official.
“There’s a lot of moving parts to this,” Addonizio, who was more skeptical of the proposal, said.