Brian Pugh: Eaglefest Shows What We Can Accomplish When We Work Together

Dear Neighbors:pugh2016

Last Saturday’s Eaglefest impressively produced annually by Teatown Lake Reservation is a celebration of what we can accomplish together when we preserve our common home. Teatown, Westchester County Parks and all the events sponsors deserve our thanks for showcasing the triumphant return of the Bald Eagle to the Hudson River Valley and the other creatures great & small that support our local ecosystem.

A generation ago, the bald eagle was on the verge of extinction and this great river was awash with pollution. But thanks to the concerted efforts of conservationists and concerned citizens, the eagle has coming soaring back.

Today, we are faced with many environmental challenges from the climate crisis to plastic pollution. We should all take inspiration from Teatown’s example of how we can make a difference by working together.

Despite the federal administration’s rollback of automobile efficiency standards, withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and opening of national forests and national monuments to mining, logging and drilling, progress is being made on the state and local level.

On March 1, the plastic bag ban adopted by New York State will take effect. NY Governor Cuomo in his State of the State address, proposed the “Restore Mother Nature Bond Act”, a $3 Billion . Bond issue subject to the approval of NYS voters, for habitat restoration.

Earlier this month, Westchester County Executive George Latimer introduced legislation to the Board of Legislators that would require electric charging stations at parking garages and open parking lots owned by the County and announced that the County was awarded $3 million from New York State toward the procurement of clean fuel hybrid-electric buses.

In the last two years, the Board of Trustees for the Village of Croton, with the support of our professional staff and the volunteers of the Sustainability Committee, have:

  1. Added the first Electric Vehicles (EV) to the Village’s fleet with more EV and hybrid vehicles included in our capital plan.
  2. Applied for and been awarded a NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation grant for a food waste recycling pilot program.
  3. Approved the first community solar array in the Village of Croton, to be installed at the new DPW building.
  4. Installed public EV charging stations at the train station and at the Municipal Building.
  5. Obtained electricity from 100% renewable energy sources for all Croton households through Sustainable Westchester’s Westchester Power Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) Program.
  6. Relaunched the Solarize program, securing discounted solar energy systems for dozens of residents.

Many of these initiatives would not have been possible without financial and regulatory support from New York State. Similarly, many of the state’s environmental programs couldn’t succeed without local implementation and coordination. I appreciate what my colleagues in government at all levels are doing to make for a more sustainable future and look forward to continuing this progress regardless of which way the political winds from Washington blow.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh, Mayor

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