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Sustainability group granted partial funding; SASD presents roadmap for county climate plan

By Fritz Mayer
December 14, 2011

Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development (SASD) has been providing consulting services to Sullivan County for the past year, but the cost of the contract for 2012, about $45,000, was not included in the tentative budget produced by county manager David Fanslau.

At a meeting at the government center on December 8, lawmaker Ron Hiatt asked why it was left out of the budget. Fanslau answered that the service provided was one that could be picked up by county staff, or that it is possible that the contract with SASD could be funded through grants. He said there was an existing grant that would pay for the contract through April 2012. He added, however, that he was not opposed to adding funding for SASD.

Lawmaker Jodi Goodman said she thought the services provided by SASD could be provided by the college. But she and the other lawmakers agreed to follow the will of the newly elected legislators who will be taking over in January. Four of them, Cindy Geiger, Cora Edwards, Ira Steingart and Kitty Vetter, indicated they wanted funding for SASD in the budget. Lawmaker Alan Sorensen suggested that the county include $25,000 for the contract, which was accepted by the other lawmakers.

Roadmap for climate plan

At a meeting later in the day, SASD, which has brought hundreds of thousands of grant dollars into the county for solar installations and other renewable energy projects, made a presentation regarding a “Roadmap to a County Action Plan.”

According to the SASD website, the plan calls for the documentation of county government and community greenhouse gas emissions and then the preparation of “climate action projects, which will save energy, cut costs and reduce county greenhouse gas emissions.” The plan also calls for focusing on work on each of the four sectors in the county: buildings, transportation, waste management/recycling and land/water use.

The program is possible now where it would not have been in the past because the county has purchased a license for a computer program developed by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, which makes it relatively easy to measure the greenhouse gas emissions of various facilities.

Stephen Stuart, an SASD technical advisor, said the group did not get “buy in” from the legislators, six of whom are leaving at the end of the month. He added that there were not enough of the newly elected legislators on hand to determine if they would vote to adopt the plan, but it will be presented to the new legislature in January 2012.

The budget hearing