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A.G. Schneiderman Announces $1.8 Million Community Climate Initiative To Fund Locally-Based Responses To Climate Change

Competitive Grant Program Will Offer Funds to Local Organizations Statewide To Pilot Climate Initiatives Tailored To Their Communities

Funding For Program Obtained From Court-Ordered Settlement With American Electric Power For Violations Of Clean Air Act

Schneiderman: New York’s Communities Are On The Front Line Of Climate Change, So They Must Be Our First Line Of Defense Against It

NEW YORK — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that the creation of a new $1.8 million program to fund the development of local responses to climate change. The Community Climate Initiative will provide competitive grants to locally-based organizations across the state to respond to climate change in their communities, from fostering public awareness in fighting air pollution that contributes to climate change to promoting energy efficiency or renewable energy. Funding for the Community Climate Initiative was obtained through a 2007 court-ordered settlement with American Electric Power, the largest U.S. power company, for violations of the federal Clean Air Act.

“The unprecedented risk posed by climate change demands a transformation not only in how we view this threat, but also in how we respond to it,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “This grant program recognizes that New York’s communities are on the front lines of climate change, so they must also be our first line of defense against it. With this funding, we hope to empower local organizations to develop innovative responses to climate change, tailored specifically to their communities.”

To foster local creativity and innovation – as well as to cultivate locally-driven approaches – Attorney General Schneiderman intends to solicit a wide range of proposals from community-based organizations to lead efforts to address climate change in their communities. In general, the Community Climate Initiative will be designed to fund the best ideas that local organizations across the state have for addressing climate change in their communities. However, the program will seek geographic diversity in granting as well as to serve those communities which have traditionally suffered the greatest from environmental impacts.

For example, community-based organizations could propose projects to increase public awareness about climate change or to build new partnerships – such as those among municipal governments, environmental advocates, labor groups, and business to work together to reduce air pollution that contributes to climate change. In addition, organizations could propose programs to reduce climate change pollution, such as by encouraging energy efficiency or conservation, supporting renewable energy, and providing access to clean power or public transportation.

Grants awarded through the Community Climate Initiative – which the Attorney General anticipates beginning to make in the fall of this year – will be made through a competitive a grant process to be run by a program administrator selected by the Attorney General. The selection of the program administrator will also be competitive. All final selections of projects to be funded will be made by the Attorney General’s office.