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Southern Tier Regional Coalition Receives $1 Million for Cleaner, Greener Communities Regional Sustainability Planning

(June 25, 2012)

Southern Tier Regional Coalition Receives $1 Million for Cleaner, Greener Communities Regional Sustainability Planning

A coalition representing Steuben, Schuyler, Chemung, Tompkins, Tioga, Broome, Chenango, and Delaware counties has received $1 million from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to create the Cleaner Greener Southern Tier Plan – a comprehensive smart growth plan for regional sustainability. This plan is part of the Cleaner, Greener Communities program, a major environmental initiative announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last year.

The coalition, comprised of Tompkins County, the Southern Tier East Regional Planning and Development Board, and the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board, will develop a smart growth plan that encompasses the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) area. Tompkins County will lead the planning process for the region.

“Establishing a sustainable growth plan for the Southern Tier is a smart choice now that will ensure a brighter future for our communities,” said Tom Tranter, President & CEO of Corning Enterprises and Regional Council Co-chair. “Bringing together local stake holders who best understand our region continues the bottom-up, common sense approach applied successfully by Governor Cuomo in economic development. This funding will go a long way in developing a strong, strategic plan that creates jobs and economic opportunities while also recognizing the need to be cognizant of our environment.”

“Protecting the environment is protecting our future. As our region continues to build and grow we must be mindful of how it affects the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land we live on,” said David Skorton, President of Cornell University and Regional Council Co-chair. “By developing and implementing a sustainable growth plan for the region we can be energy efficient and reduce pollution while also increasing job and economic opportunities that improve the quality of life for our communities.”

The development of a comprehensive regional sustainability plan is the first phase of the Cleaner, Greener Communities program and is intended to provide resources that each New York State region can use to develop its own vision, goals and objectives for a sustainable future, identify actions needed to achieve that future and outline metrics to measure success. Only one award was made in each region of the state.

“This funding is an excellent opportunity for the Southern Tier Region to develop a plan that improves environmental quality by reducing air, water and land pollution and improves quality of life through smart growth and sustainable development,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, all New Yorkers will benefit, as the regional plans will examine each region’s available resources and provide a specific vision to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency and renewable energy.”

“The Cleaner Greener Southern Tier plan is well positioned to incorporate the region’s initiatives including sustainability plans, expanding on alternative transportation options, and bridging community goals for a holistic look at our energy footprint as a region. The commitment of partners included in the development of this plan says a lot about the relevance of sustainability in the Southern Tier,” said Erik Miller, Director, Southern Tier East Regional Planning and Development Board.

“We're very excited about this planning grant. It will help us develop solutions that go beyond county borders and take full advantage of the Southern Tier's many resources, to create a more sustainable future,” said Martha Robertson, Chair, Tompkins County Legislature.

“Energy is an issue that has engaged our country and our region. As a planning agency, Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board has been involved in sustainability and other energy-related topics for many years. We welcome the chance to work in the larger region with NYSERDA on this initiative, and we hope to develop a plan to reduce energy usage and to encourage development of green jobs, among other important accomplishments,” said, Marcia Weber, Executive Director, Southern Tier Central Regional Planning Board.

Once the plan is developed, additional funding will be available from the Cleaner, Greener Communities program on a competitive basis to implement projects that support the goals of the plans. Projects must create opportunities for achieving carbon reductions, energy efficiency savings and/or renewable energy deployment while enhancing job creation, economic investment and development consistent with the region’s sustainability and REDC strategic plan.

“Tioga County Rural Economic Area Partnership (TC REAP) is currently developing a Southern Tier Regional bioenergy feasibility study and business plan development entitled Sustainable Tioga Strengthening Economies Together. This project is a perfectly suitable implementation project to be included in the Southern Tier’s Cleaner, Greener Communities Sustainability Plan,” said Elaine Jardine, Tioga County Planning Director.

“We hope that this project will capture the proactive efforts of the County in rehabilitating rail, increasing communities’ sustainability initiatives and promote greater understanding of transition fuels and cleaner alternatives for the largest GHG producers- the residential sector,” said Donna Jones, Chenango County Planning Director.

For further information about the Cleaner Greener Southern Tier Plan, and to help rate the project’s draft goals or suggest projects and strategies, please visit the project website at or contact Leslie Schill at the Tompkins County Planning Department, 607-274-5560 or by email at