The Step It Up 2007 Petition for Dutchess County sign now

Consider the three following facts (see StepItUp2007.org for much more on this):

1. Dutchess County's average hourly concentration of ozone has been found to be much higher than even that of New York City's, according to a recent study conducted at Millbrook's Institute of Ecosystem Studies by Dr. Clive Jones, Jillian Gregg, and Todd Dawson (this was on the front page of both the Poughkeepsie Journal and New York Times just a few years ago; see Ecostudies.org/people_sci_jones_pubs.asp).

2. "Since 1970, winter temperatures in the Northeast have increased 4.3 degrees...'This is a tremendous change in 30 years' time,' said Cameron Wake, a University of New Hampshire scientist who contributed to a comprehensive report about climate change in the Northeastern United States and adjacent Canadian provinces...conference about climate change in the Hudson Valley organized by Department of Environmental Conservation" (Poughkeepsie Journal 12/17/06).

3. According to the BBC last December 14th, "The top 10 warmest years recorded globally have all occurred during the last 12 years."
(see News.BBC.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6177663.stm; also "Humans Faulted for Global Warming: International Panel of Climate Scientists Sounds Dire Alarm" by Juliet Eilperin for the Washington Post Feb. 3rd:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/02/AR2007020200192.html .]

These facts are why New York's Apollo Alliance Coordinator Jeff Jones recently agreed to endorse County Legislator Joel Tyner's common-sense twelve-point action plan for Dutchess County to clean up our county's air quality (rated an "F" for the last six years by American Lung Association of NYS) and fight global warming/climate change locally as well (more information on all of these below).

[Note: Quite a few of these initiatives below have been endorsed by the national Apollo Alliance as well in their recent publication "New Energy for Cities: Energy-Saving and Job Creation Policies for Local Governments"-- credit goes to the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation for helping New York State Apollo Alliance Coordinator Jeff Jones (of the Workforce Development Institute) distribute these to local community leaders at a recent blue-green Hudson Valley Economic Development Strategy Conference; see
ApolloAlliance.org/document.cfm?documentID=166; also ApolloAlliance.org.]

The Twelve-Point Joel Tyner/Jeff Jones Action Plan to Clean Up Dutchess County's Air:

1. Referendum for countywide LEED/Energy Star "green building" code; this has been specifically endorsed by the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation in a recent newsletter of theirs (as in much of Long Island).
[see PetitionOnline.com/greenbld; click on "View Signatures"]]

2. Referendum for county solar energy bond/loan fund; this has also been specifically endorsed by the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation in a recent newsletter of theirs (as in San Francisco and California).
[PetitionOnline.com/solaryes; click on "View Signatures"]

3. Free compact fluorescent light bulbs on a first-come, first-serve basis as in Westchester County; ban the sale of incandescent bulbs by 2012.
[WestchesterGov.com/soc.htm]

4. In-home electricity sensors like PowerCost Monitors and cent-a-meters more readily available for county residents (as in Ontario).
[Save-Electricity.ca/faqs.html; Power2save.ca/]

5. 100\% of county power from renewable energy, as other municipalities have done (from wind/other; see CommunityEnergy.biz).
[Co.Suffolk.NY.US/legis/press/2001/PR052301\%20Hybrid\%20Electric\%20Vehicles.htm]

6. LOOP buses and rest of county fleet switched to compressed natural gas, biodiesel, or hybrid vehicles (as in NYC, Seattle, Boston).
[EERE.energy.gov/state_energy_program/project_detail.cfm/sp_id=893]

7. Traffic signals across county changed to LED; use 90\% less energy, last ten times longer (as in Westchester, Denver, St. Paul, etc.).
[Westchestergov.com/soc.htm]

8. County-level sales/property tax breaks for solar, geothermal, and hybrid purchases as appropriate (as in Nassau and Suffolk counties).
[Co.Suffolk.NY.US/legis/press/2001/PR052301\%20Hybrid\%20Electric\%20Vehicles.htm]

9. Work with Central Hudson to start rebate for reduced energy use (over half of Pacific Gas and Electric use their rebate for less use).
[Zwire.com/site/index.cfm?newsid=18070546&BRD=1091&PAG=461&dept_id=346950&rfi=8]

10. Work with Central Hudson and NYS Public Service Commission to "decouple" profits from volume of energy sold (as in Oregon).
[PGE.com/news/latest_topics/wintersavings/]

11. Work with local farmers to set up community methane digester to process organic waste-- biogas for power (as in Cayuga County).
[NWEnergy.org/publications/report/01_oct/rp_0110_6a.html]

12. Make sure our county's 1981 recycling law is enforced, and recycle all plastics, #1-#7 (as in Wayne and Yates counties).
[WFingerLakesAuthority.org]

If you agree with the Apollo Alliance's Jeff Jones and Joel Tyner on this, sign on to this petition, pass it along to all you know, and contact our County Legislature at [email protected] and 486-2100.

For more information contact County Legislator Joel Tyner directly at (845) 876-2488 or [email protected]; also see RealMajorityProject.blogspot.com (note-- this petition is very much inspired by the efforts of Bill McKibben and the entire national StepItUp2007.org team/network, as well as the long-time efforts and energy of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater's Manna Jo Greene and Sustainable Hudson Valley's Melissa Everett on this as well.)

[Note as well-- our County Legislature should also pass a resolution endorsing Al Gore's Ten Point Plan for Global Warming presented to both houses of Congress on March 21st-- the top priority is immediately freezing carbon emissions at the existing level; then implementing programs to reduce them 90 percent by 2050; Tyner plans to introduce such a resolution calling on our County Legislature to do this in May (with your support); see http://www.Truthout.org/docs_2006/032407A.shtml and scroll down below as well for more information on this.]

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TWELVE-POINT PLAN TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE AND PROTECT DUTCHESS COUNTY'S AIR QUALITY

[a more fully fleshed out version of the above; one preliminary note regarding the first two initiatives listed below-- where there's a will there's a way; if current state/county charter/law does not allow such referendums, then state/county charter/law should change!]

1. A countywide green building code (as in New York City, Long Island, Greenburgh)-- Dutchess County residents should be allowed the opportunity to vote on a referendum for a common-sense three-part countywide green building code that will pay for itself in saved energy costs for local taxpayers-- while cleaning up the atrocious state of our local air quality at the same time (rated an "F" for the last six years running by the American Lung Association of NYS). The three parts of this code would be: Making sure that all construction or renovation work on county-owned property here in Dutchess conforms to U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards; the federal government, fifteen states, and forty-six cities across the country require this of new public buildings (we've been advocating for over a year now that Dutchess County follow New York City's example on this); Making sure that all new industrial, commercial, and multi-residential structures in Dutchess County over four thousand square feet meet LEED standard's (as in Babylon on Long Island; see below for much more on this), and making sure that all newly constructed homes in Dutchess County are built according to Energy Star standards (as in Greenburgh in Westchester County and the towns of Babylon, Brookhaven, Oyster Bay, Riverhead, and Southampton on Long Island. It's been proven over and over again that investing in green building saves money: "A recent study conducted for the State of California concluded that, on average, green buildings show a ten times return on the investment in green building design. This comprehensive analysis of 33 green buildings revealed an average green cost premium of less than 2\%, with only a 0.66\% premium for buildings that achieved the most basic level of LEED certification."
"Developers find that green technologies and construction materials add no more than 1\%-2\% to costs, a premium quickly recaptured by energy savings."
[ http://www.PetitionOnline.com/greenbld ;
http://www.NYC.gov/html/dob/downloads/pdf/ll_86of2005.pdf ;
http://www.USAToday.com/news/nation/2006-07-26-green-construction_x.htm ]

2. $50 million solar bond/loan fund (as in San Francisco, California, Honolulu)-- Dutchess County residents deserve the same chance that San Francisco voters had in November 2001-- the opportunity to revitalize our local economy and the air we breathe, ultimately saving tax dollars, creating good-paying jobs, and cleaning up the air we breathe-- by voting for a $50 million "Ten Thousand Roofs by 2020" bond initiative referendum to pay for solar panels and energy efficiency upgrades on county-owned and other properties throughout the county. Last August California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law "a Million Solar Roofs Plan to provide 3,000 megawatts of additional clean energy and reduce the output of greenhouse gasses by 3 million tons...like taking one million cars off the road; the plan will lead to one million solar roofs in California by 2018." By an overwhelming margin (73\%) six years ago San Francisco voters approved a landmark $100 million bond initiative that paid for solar panels, energy efficiency, etc. for public facilities; the measure is paying for itself entirely from energy savings at no cost to taxpayers. San Francisco has a population a little over 700,000; Dutchess County's population is about 300,000-- a bit under half of San Francisco's. Los Angeles, Oakland, Richmond, San Mateo County, New Mexico, and Honolulu have all moved in a similar direction. The $50 million bond should also help county residents and businesses with zero-interest loans to purchase solar energy-- and go towards setting up a local cooperative, nonprofit, member-driven organization for Dutchess residents to purchase solar power at bulk-rate discount, similar to what the folks elsewhere have done with the nonprofit CooperativeCommunityEnergy.com. "According to Dr. Richard Perez, Research Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at SUNY -Albany, if you covered a mere 0.75\% of New York's total area with PV's, you would generate enough power over the year to meet the state's energy needs."
[ http://www.PetitionOnline.com/solaryes ;
http://www.fcwc.org/WEArchive/091002/solar_ny.htm ;
http://www.votesolar.org/city-initiatives/successes.html ;
http://www.newenergychoices.org/index.php?sd=no&page=mediaKit_solar
]

3. Give away 2000 compact fluorescent bulbs (Westchester County is giving away 5000 on Earth Day weekend next month)-- and ban completely the sale of wasteful incandescent light bulbs in Dutchess County (Westchester County Legislator Martin Rogowsky has proposed a similar ban by 2010 for that county; see yesterday's New York Times on this).
[ http://www.westchestergov.com/soc.htm ]

4. Make in-home electricity use sensors like PowerCost Monitors and cent-a-meters more readily available to Dutchess County residents (as is already the case in Ontario); this type of "demand-side management" innovation has been endorsed by the Apollo Alliance.
[see http://www.save-electricity.ca/faqs.html ; http://www.power2save.ca/ ;
http://www.apolloalliance.org/document.cfm?documentID=166 ]

5. 100\% of county power from green source (wind/other); Nassau County and others have made bolder moves in this direction; we should echo them.
[ http://www.communityenergy.biz/pr/cei_pr_greenpower.html ]
http://www.co.suffolk.ny.us/legis/press/2001/PR052301\%20Hybrid\%20Electric\%20Vehicles.htm

6. LOOP buses and rest of fleet switched to compressed natural gas, biodiesel, and/or hybrid vehicles (as in New York City, Seattle, and Boston)
[ http://www.apolloalliance.org/document.cfm?documentID=166 ;
http://www.eere.energy.gov/state_energy_program/project_detail.cfm/sp_id=893 ]

7. Switch to LED traffic signals (as in Westchester County, Denver, St. Paul, and Passaic). More efficient light-emitting diode (LED) signals use 90\% less power, last ten times longer, and are brighter than traditional incandescent bulbs.
[ http://www.westchestergov.com/soc.htm ;
http://www.apolloalliance.org/document.cfm?documentID=166 ]

8. County-level sales tax breaks for purchases of hybrid vehicles and solar or geothermal energy (as in Nassau, Suffolk counties). "In 2001...the Suffolk County Legislature voted to approve, two resolutions to give County residents incentives and tax-breaks for purchasers of hybrid-electric vehicles." A September 2005 press release from the Nassau County Executive noted that, "A greater emphasis is being placed on renewable energy, as the County will purchased 25 percent of its electricity from such sources as wind power and hydroelectricity, by the year 2010 [re: above]. Purchase of this power will begin in 2006. Mejias, Denenberg and Toback proposed legislation Tuesday that would offer an exemption from the County portion of sales tax to homeowners installing solar energy systems. Suffolk County approved a similar measure last week and New York State lawmakers have exempted such power systems from sales tax, in addition to providing tax credits. The elimination of the county portion of the sales taxes, combined with the state sales tax exemption and a 50 percent LIPA rebate, will now lower the cost of a small residential unit to $9,000 down from a little more than $26,000. In addition, the Nassau County sales tax exemption doesn't require homeowners to purchase an entire household system to qualify. Homeowners can receive the exemption by purchasing and installing any household solar energy system, such as a solar powered water heater or by having even just one room of their home heated by solar energy."
[ http://www.tomorrowshopefoundation.org/about_board_paulj.asp ;
http://whybuyhybrid.com/New-York-Hybrid-vehicle-purchase-Tax-Incentives.htm ;
http://www.co.suffolk.ny.us/legis/press/2001/PR052301\%20Hybrid\%20Electric\%20Vehicles.htm ;
http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/CountyExecutive/NewsRelease/2005/09-07-2005.html ]

9. County-level property tax breaks for homes with solar and/or geothermal energy.
[ http://www.forbes.com/business/2005/08/17/energy-solar-taxes-cz_ae_0817beltway.html ;
http://www.zwire.com/site/index.cfm?newsid=18070546&BRD=1091&PAG=461&dept_id=346950&rfi=8 ]

10. Have Central Hudson follow the smart example of Pacific Gas and Electric-- "Each winter, Pacific Gas and Electric offers a twenty percent rebate to customers who reduce their cumulative natural gas consumption by ten percent between January and March. A report in March, 2006 showed that 53 percentt of PG&E customers reduced their gas use during January and February in order to take advantage of the rebate. PG&Es rebate program encourages consumers to develop an instinct for conservation through simple habits such as lowering the thermostat, and reduces utility costs and emissions at the same time.
[ http://www.pge.com/news/latest_topics/wintersavings/ ;
http://www.apolloalliance.org/docUploads/new_energy_cities.pdf ;
http://www.shareholder.com/Common/Edgar/75488/75488-06-23/06-00.pdf ]

11. Work with Central Hudson and our state's Public Service Commission towards "decoupling", as has been done already in Oregon-- breaking the current connection between profits and volume of energy sold, now a powerful disincentive for utilities like Central Hudson to invest in energy efficiency. Utilities earn profits on the rate per kilowatthour (kWh); when they invest in conservation for their customers their revenues drop-- it doesn't have to be this way. Decoupling utilities' revenues from the number of kWhs they sell helps to overcome their reluctance to invest in energy efficiency (this has been endorsed by the Apollo Alliance).
[ http://www.nwenergy.org/publications/report/01_oct/rp_0110_6a.html ;
http://www.apolloalliance.org/document.cfm?documentID=166 ]

12. Work with local farmers to set up a methane digester (as in Cayuga County)-- "Cayuga County in central New York State is planning an innovative partnership with ECO Technology Solutions to develop and construct a community anerobic digester to process organic waste from local dairies and food processors; the resulting biogas will generate electricity for various county buildings. The Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District is leading the project as a way to tackle both energy and water quality problems in the community. Cayuga County will collect manure from several small to mid-size farmers who cannot support a manure treatment facility on their own. The collected manure will be used to power a digester, which the county expects to generate 625 kW of electricity. In return, local farmers will receive a truckload of liquid fertilizer to use in place of land-spread manure. This liquid fertilizer is a byproduct of the digester process and is lower in phosphorus, preserving water quality in the county. This innovative renewable energy project is expected to be operational by spring 2007." [Jim Hotaling, Executive Director Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District: (315) 252-4171, [email protected]; Bill Cetti (ECO Technology Solutions): (703) 669-3221; [ http://www.apolloalliance.org/document.cfm?documentID=166 ]

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Al Gore's Ten Point Plan for Global Warming, presented to both houses of Congress on March 21, 2007:

1. Immediately freeze carbon at the existing level; then implement programs to reduce it 90 percent by 2050.

2. Reduce taxes on employment and production, instead taxing pollution (especially CO2). These pollution taxes would raise the same amount of money, but make us more competitive by encouraging employment while discouraging pollution.

3. A portion of the revenues must be earmarked for low-income and middle-class people who will have a difficult time making this transition.

4. Negotiate a strong global treaty to replace Kyoto, while working toward de facto compliance with Kyoto. Move the start date of this new treaty forward from 2012 to 2010, so the next president can start to act immediately, rather than wasting time trying to pass Kyoto right before it expires. We have to try to get China and India to participate in the treaty. If they don't immediately participate, we have to move forward with the treaty regardless, trusting that they will join sooner rather than later.

5. Impose a moratorium on construction of any new coal-fired power plant not compatible with carbon capture and sequestration.

6. Develop an "electranet" - a smart grid that allows individual homeowners and small businesses to create green power and sell their excess power to the utility companies at a fair price. Just as widely distributed information processing led to a large new surge of productivity, we need a law that allows widely distributed energy generation to be sold into the grid, at a rate determined not by the utility companies, but by regulation. The goal is to create a grid that does not require huge, centralized power plants.

7. Raise CAFE standards for cars and trucks as part of a comprehensive package. Cars and trucks are a large part of the problem, but coal and buildings must be addressed at the same time.

8. Set a date for the ban of incandescent light bulbs that gives industry time to create alternatives. If the date is set, industry will meet this challenge.

9. Create Connie Mae, a carbon-neutral mortgage association. Connie Mae will defer the costs of things like insulation and energy-efficient windows that cut carbon but are often not used by builders or renovators because they add to the upfront costs of homes, only paying for themselves after several years of energy savings.

10. The SEC should require disclosure of carbon emissions in corporate reporting.

- From the AlGore.org web site.

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Tim DownsBy:
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