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April 23, 2014
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DEC critical of Cochecton’s Climate Action Plan


At the June 12 monthly meeting of the Cochecton Town Board, the cursory review of correspondence directed to supervisor Gary Maas was unusually remarkable. A letter from Mark DePaul Lowery, Climate Policy Analyst with the Office of Climate Change at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, was openly critical of Town of Cochecton Resolution 29, Climate Smart Community Pledge.

The letter stated in part, “I appreciate the town board’s passage of this resolution to adopt the Climate Smart Community Pledge but, upon review of the adopted resolution, I have noticed that the adopted resolution does not include the following pledge elements: ‘pledge to combat change by becoming a Climate Smart community; set goals, inventory emissions, move to action; plan for adaption to unavoidable climate change; support a green innovation economy.’

“I grant that pledge element one is redundant with the action of adopting the pledge, but the agencies that sponsor the Climate Smart Communities program believe that, even allowing for the great diversity of local community circumstances, priorities and aspirations, there is room for local action on all aspects of the pledge, if not immediately, then in the future… Moreover those agencies that award preference points to Climate Smart Communities on competitive grant applications must be assured that communities so designated have expressed the same level of commitment… Adoption of the complete pledge will be required of all communities seeking certification.”

After reading the letter aloud in its entirety, Maas explained the rationale behind Cochecton’s selective editing of the Climate Smart Community Pledge furnished by Sullivan County. The board was unaware that towns were initially required to adopt all elements of the pledge in order to be certified as Climate Smart Communities, and so Cochecton pledged adoption of only those elements on which the town can currently deliver. Action on adoption of the entire pledge was left open.

In other news, councilman Larry Richardson’s Upper Delaware Council (UDC) report detailed remarks made by Thomas Fikslin of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) at the June 6 meeting of the UDC. Fikslin informed the group that the Delaware River from the upper section to Trenton is designated as anti-degradation waters. The DRBC has established monitoring stations on Delaware tributaries to record baseline water quality. In the event that gas fracking occurs along the Delaware River and/or its tributaries, the DRBC will be able to identify water pollution and determine its source; he noted that at this time there is no wastewater treatment facility in the Delaware River Basin licensed to process flow-back or fracking production water.

The board passed two resolutions. The first was adoption of a new notice-of-claim process mandated by New York State; parties desiring to file a claim against the town must now do so through the office of the New York Secretary of State, which will then act on behalf of the claimant. The second was for road closures in conjunction with the July 13 Day on the Lake parade and festivities. Details of the closures are excerpted from the resolution:

“Whereas, In order to protect the assemblage and activities, it is necessary to close off to traffic State Route 52, between Nearing Road and County Road 116, then up County Road 116 to the intersection of Smales Road, in the Hamlet of Lake Huntington for a parade at 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and County Road 116 between Smales Road and Mitchell Pond East, during the event from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.”

The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.