The Town of Hempstead has been awarded $80,000 to develop a plan for reducing the town’s carbon footprint, energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen and state Sen. Todd Kaminsky announced that the town received a grant from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s annual Regional Economic Development Councils competition in December.
The funding will go toward the development of an energy and sustainability master plan. The plan will propose cost-saving and energy efficiency measures, designed to reduce the financial burden on taxpayers, and will include data on the town’s current energy consumption and carbon footprint.
“The development of a green innovation economy is not only beneficial to the environment, it is better for the bottom-line, saving taxpayers money,” Gillen said in a statement. “By setting goals to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels and making purchases that are more environmentally friendly, we can combat the disastrous effects of climate change.”
In 2018, the town spent approximately $8 million for gas and electric service. Though consumption levels stay the same in Hempstead, energy bills rise by an average of 3.25 percent annually, according to the town.
“As America’s largest township, we have a responsibility to lead by example, as well as to inform and inspire the public,” Gillen said.
In July, the town became the state’s largest local municipality to take the “climate smart communities pledge,” a commitment to reduce community energy use and pollutant discharge into the environment, while increasing the use of renewable resources, town officials said.
“A comprehensive sustainability plan is important for the betterment of the environment in the Town of Hempstead,” Kaminsky, a Long Beach Democrat, said in a statement. “With the implementation of this plan, the Town will become a leader in advancing renewable energy.”
Also awarded to the town as part of the development awards competition was $1 million to make stormwater management improvements to the Roosevelt highway yard’s infrastructure.
The funding for the improvements also comes from the DEC as part of the Water Quality Improvement Project’s source pollution abatement and control from nonfarm sources program.
The funding will be used to implement green infrastructure practices to reduce and treat stormwater runoff, the award description reads. The project will help protect the adjacent wetland and improve surface water quality.
The yard stores thousands of pounds of the town’s salt and is the main site for storage of equipment, Gillen said. The funding will ensure that run-off and contamination of the nearby ponds and creeks is prevented, she added.