New Rochelle is one of 25 municipalities in New York state awarded grants by the State Department of Environmental Conservation's Climate Smart Communities Grant program. Announced last week, the over $11.6 million in funding helps municipalities afford projects that will often save taxpayer dollars over the long term while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping communities adapt to the ongoing impacts of climate change, including reducing flood risk, relocating or retrofitting critical infrastructure, and increasing community resilience to extreme weather.
New Rochelle was awarded $100,000 for the evaluation of policies for Climate Resilience. The Climate Resilience Policy Evaluation will guide resilient procedures and policymaking with three focused components: (1) Metrics for environmental, social and governance issues and an annual reporting framework; (2) Heat emergency plan policy evaluation; (3) A coastal resilience policy evaluation.
Established in 2016, the Climate Smart Communities Grant Program is a competitive 50/50 matching grant program for municipalities to implement projects focused on climate change adaptation and greenhouse gas mitigation. Project types also include certain planning and assessment projects that are part of a strategy to achieve Climate Smart Communities certification. Of the total grant funds awarded this round under the implementation and certification categories respectively, 36 percent was awarded to implementation projects located in disadvantaged communities that face a disproportionate burden of environmental pollution, and 66 percent was awarded to certification projects by municipalities that contain a disadvantaged community, as identified by the Climate Justice Working Group's draft criteria.
The program also supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which requires New York to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Since the Climate Smart Communities Grant Program's inception, DEC has awarded more than $50 million to municipalities in support of local climate mitigation and adaptation projects. More information about this grant program is available on the DEC website.