SCHUYLER COUNTY, N.Y. (WETM) — New York State has recognized Montour Falls and Hector’s efforts towards reducing and adapting to the challenges posed by climate change with Climate Smart Community certifications.

The Climate Smart Communities program supports local governments that are working to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and improve their communities’ resilience to the impacts of climate change. Communities that want to join the program must sign a voluntary pledge and work towards the program’s goals, which include increasing energy security and reliability, improving community public health and safety, supporting a green invocation economy, and saving taxpayer dollars.

“DEC commends these local climate leaders and their commitment to actions that promote sustainability, reduce waste, save energy, and increase zero-emission transportation options,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “We look forward to continuing to work with our certified Climate Smart Communities and local leaders who are advancing clean energy projects and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to ensure equity and improve quality of life for residents in New York State.”

New York State determines each community’s certification level by using a point system the considers the community’s plans and actions towards achieving the program’s goals. Montour Falls was recertified as a bronze Climate Smart Community, and Hector was newly certified at that level. Currently, the only certification levels are bronze and silver, but the state is working towards developing a gold level. Most certified Climate Smart Communities are bronze.

With this certification, Montour Falls and Hector are entitled to state funding, vehicle fuel rebates, free clean energy technical assistance, webinars, and online support.

For more information about Climate Smart Communities and to see which other municipalities are certified, visit this website.