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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tuesday that five counties will receive grants totaling $1 million to combat man-made climate change. The grants will be used to help the counties develop resiliency plans to better prepare for, and efficiently recover from severe weather events in an era of increased storm and severe weather risk.  The five counties awarded funding through the grant are: Albany, Genesee, Orange, Sullivan and Tompkins.

"With unpredictable weather becoming more and more frequent, we can't afford to wait for the next storm to happen before working to protect our communities and infrastructure," Cuomo said. "This funding will help counties across New York develop plans to prepare for future disastrous weather events and protect New Yorkers from some of the unpredictable ramifications of man-made climate change."

The $1 million, funded through the State Environmental Protection Fund's Smart Growth Program, will be used by the counties to create a pipeline of projects to protect streams, coasts and critical infrastructure, increasing the flood resiliency of their communities. The grant program builds on the Governor's NY Rising Community Reconstruction Initiative after Superstorm Sandy, which was recognized by the Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center for Innovation in Government as a Top Ten innovative program in 2015.

Tompkins County Legislature Chair Martha Robertson said, "Whether you 'believe in it' or not, climate change is already leading to unpredictable, destructive weather events, impacting our farms, cities, homes, and infrastructure. While the federal government continues to ignore its responsibility to address the ever-increasing effects of human-made climate change, New York is accelerating progress toward a more resilient state. With these funds, Governor Cuomo is ensuring that our communities will be protected against damage caused by these unpredictable events."

Each county will use the funding to develop resiliency plans and identify projects while incorporating the principles of smart, sustainable growth and development. The plans funded through the grant will address:

  • An increase in frequency and severity of storm and precipitation events;
  • Sea-level rise;
  • Storm surge;
  • Coastal and riverine flooding;
  • Drought; and
  • Debris and ice jams.

The Smart Growth Grant Program was announced in December 2016 at Cuomo's Sustainable Development & Collaborative Governance conference in Binghamton. At the event and at nine additional conferences across the State, panelists and speakers from each region discussed different ways that communities have addressed sustainable development and community resiliency. Fourteen counties applied for the competitive grant, with the five winning counties achieving the highest scores.

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