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NYS Department Of State Honors Its Climate and Environmental Accomplishments for Earth Day, And Anticipates Another Successful Years In 2022/2023 Oswego Country Today

NYS Department Of State Honors Its Climate and Environmental Accomplishments for Earth Day, And Anticipates Another Successful Years In 2022/2023 Oswego Country Today

Photo from NYS Department of State.

NEW YORK Robert J. Rodriguez, New York State Secretary of State, today praised the Department of States’ (DOS), many climate and environmental accomplishments in celebration of Earth Day. He looks forward to another great year for the environment in the States.

States have increased funding for DOS programs in their budgets to provide new opportunities for investments in green infrastructure.

DOS manages several programs that promote sustainable community growth, natural resource protection, and climate-friendly infrastructure, including the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (NY Forward), Brownfield Opportunity Area (Brownfield Opportunity Area), Smart Growth Planning, and Local Waterfront Revitalization Initiative.

Robert J. Rodriguez, Secretary of State said that smart, sustainable and climate-friendly growth are the core of the Department of State’s mission. The three Es of sustainability Economy, Equity, and Environment guide DOS programs. DOS will be able to expand and accelerate its community and environmental development work, thanks to the unprecedented budget support.

The FY23 budget for the States includes record funding and support of several DOS community planning programs and development programs that protect and reduce greenhouse gases and increase clean energy sitting. This was possible partly through an increase in Environmental Protection Fund from $300 Million to $400 Million.

A breakdown of DOS sustainability-oriented programs:

Downtown Revitalization Initiative
The DRIInaugurated in 2016, the DRI was created to increase and expand revitalization of downtowns, neighborhoods, and other areas in all ten state regions. These are places that can serve as catalysts and centers for increased local investments and activity. The DRI is a unique and innovative plan then-act strategy, led by the Department of State. It combines strategic planning with quick implementation.

By making downtowns more walkable, bikeable, and transit-oriented, they reduce automobile dependence and use, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Redevelopment in downtown areas also helps to reverse sprawl, which is not sustainable. Clean energy is also possible in downtowns.

DOS and NYPA signed an agreement in 2021 to locate Electric Vehicle charging stations within several DRIs. _XXX_ DRI communities are currently enrolled in this initiative. NYSERDA is also partnering the DRI to promote energy-efficient, carbon-neutral downtown projects.

In its first five rounds, the DRI awarded $600 million to 59 communities. The annual appropriate of $100million was doubled to $200million in 2021, which allowed 19 more communities to receive funding. FY23State Budget contains $100 million more for the DRI and an additional $100 million to fund NY Forward, an innovative variation of the DRI.

NY Forward
NY Forward, an offshoot DRI, is a $100 million program in Budget to support a more equitable downtown revival across New York’s smaller and rural communities. It focuses on hamlets, villages, and small towns.

DOS will guide the community through a simplified planning process and provide technical assistance to help them develop a list of easily implementable projects. NY Forward, just like the DRI helps reverse sprawl and reduce greenhouse gases.

Smart Growth Comprehensive Planning Grant Program
Smart Growth funding is available for community, county, and regional planning and implementation. It embraces Smart Growth principles, including walkable downtowns as well as clean energy sitting.

In 2021, the DOS provided over $1.5million to 24 communities in order to develop municipal comprehensive plans. These plans would incorporate and incorporate Smart Growth principles and will guide future zoning. The Smart Growth program funding was increased from $2 million to $3 million in Budget 2018 (which was split equally with the DECs Adirondack Parks Smart Growth Program).

Ocean and Great Lakes/Coastal Consistency
The Department of State was involved in New York’s first offshore wind project, South Fork Wind. This project will provide electric power to Long Island. As we transition to a cleaner and more sustainable future, the DOS Coastal Consistency and Ocean and Great Lakes programs worked closely with government partners and stakeholders in order to minimize adverse environmental effects and avoid disruptions to our coastline economy.

Governor Hochul also pushed for a record $500 million investment in offshore manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure, to support future offshore wind projects. This will help the State significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions as directed by the landmark Climate Leadership and Community protection Act.

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Brownfield Opportunity Area Program (BOA).
The BOA program transforms brownfields, i.e. areas with significant contamination, from liabilities to community assets that create and support new businesses and jobs, housing, and other amenities, including renewable energy.

BOA funds a plan which, once it is completed, is submitted the Secretary of State to be approved or designated. This grants projects that are consistent the BOA plan priority state funding among some programs; an additional brownfield developer tax credit; grants for predevelopment project costs.

The BOA program not only helped to redevelop brownfield sites that were blighted, but also helped to create solar farms on brownfields in Olean and Lackawanna. This is helping the United States achieve its nation-leading greenhouse gas emission reduction goals in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

In 2021 the Secretary of state designated 4 new BOAs. This brings the total to 61 BOAs in the state. Grant funding of $3.6 million was also granted to 18 municipalities and community-based organisations. The FY23 Budget increases funding by $4 million.

Local Waterfront Revitalization Project (LWRP).
The LWRP Program grants grants to communities to create a community-driven plan that envisions their waterfront. It is guided by environmental policies that ensure projects are in harmony and respect for the natural resources and ecosystems of the waterfront. After an LWRP has been approved by the Secretary and adopted by a community, the community can apply to receive funds to implement projects that support it.

There are currently 113 cities in New York State with LWRPs approved, 4 of which were approved in 2021 by the Secretary. In 2021, the program provided unprecedented funding of $30.9 million for 46 projects. The State Budget includes $16.3 Million for 2022/2023.

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