Westchester

WESTCHESTER

Westchester County has a population of close to one million people, with a land area of 431 square miles and a population density of 2,300 people per square mile. Situated in the Hudson Valley, the county consists of six cities, 19 towns, and 23 villages. It lies in a humid temperate/subtropical region — its temperatures highly regulated by the ocean, keeping the region from being too cold or too warm

New York’s Hudson River is an estuary (i.e. where a freshwater river meets the ocean), turning the water brackish — that is, very slightly salty. Nurturing both saltwater and freshwater creatures, estuaries are one of the most important and productive ecosystems on earth. In fact, the Hudson estuary is home to some creatures New Yorkers might not think of as neighbors, including sharks, rays, and sea turtles. You can see these creatures at the New York Aquarium

Because Westchester, the 2nd largest county in NY,  is sandwiched between the Long Island Sound and the Hudson River, the county is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise and storm surges with predictions for the future significantly worse. Sea level rise for the Hudson River has averaged 0.11 inches per year from 1850 to 2017, nearly double the 1900–1990 mean global rate. Hudson River communities will not flood to the same degree as many parts of the US from the rise, thanks to the Hudson River’s steep banks, according to the NOAA’s Sea Level Rise Viewer. However, superstorms, which are becoming more common, are already seriously threatening Westchester; the County spent half a billion dollars to fix the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy alone. 

Temperatures are also expected to rise in the Hudson Valley and Catskills more drastically than most of the U.S. due to climate change, with the region seeing temperatures four-to-five degrees higher by 2050 when compared to the late 20th century. As temperatures rise and precipitation patterns change, its ecosystem will struggle to adapt. For example, “Vector-borne diseases” — those transmitted by ticks, mosquitoes and fleas — are expected to increase in the Northeast due to the broadening ranges of their hosts.

Warmer temperatures are also expected to create die-offs of conifers at high elevations, such as those found in the Catskills. Freshwater life such as salamanders, invertebrates, mussels, trout, and other cold-water fish are expected to be drastically diminished. The habitats of dragonflies and damselflies, “species that are a good indicator of ecosystem health along rivers” are expected to decline 45-99 percent by 2080 in the Northeast.

Westchester began stepping up to face this challenge early. In 2008, they passed the Westchester Action Plan for Climate Change and Sustainable Development. That plan focused on updating the Community of Westchester’s six-year-old greenhouse gas emissions inventory, recommending an emissions reduction goal, and developing an action plan for all sectors to achieve that goal. In developing the action plan, Westchester evaluated their energy, transportation, land use, water resources, and recycling industries.  In December of 2015, Westchester’s Board of Legislators voted to make the County a New York Climate Smart Community, formally committing Westchester to a pledge of GHG emission reduction, decreasing energy use, climate-smart waste practices, and community climate change adaptation.

In January of 2020, the town of Ossining, Westchester was awarded a climate action grant of $100K to administer a collaborative working group tasked with completing individual government operations greenhouse gas inventories, and climate action plans that will outline emissions reduction targets, strategies, and projects. 

Westchester’s energy system and usage is chronicled by its multiple municipalities, and thus hard to judge. However, in late 2014, a group of 17 Westchester municipalities formed a non-profit, Sustainable Westchester, which in May 2016, launched  Westchester Power, New York State’s first Community Choice Aggregation Program (CCA) and signed a novel two-year agreement with ConEdison to supply 90,000 homes and small businesses with electricity at a fixed rate generated from wind, solar and hydro projects. Utility company Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, a sister company of ConEdison Solutions, now supplies these homes and businesses with electricity at a fluctuating rate from traditional sources, such as natural gas and nuclear. Under the contract, energy users will be able to select an option of 100% renewable energy or a slightly cheaper option that includes a mix of renewable and traditional energy

Bedford, one of Westchester’s small towns (less than 18,000 people) created its own climate action plan in 2010, first calling itself Bedford2020 and now Bedford2030. In their first ten years, they reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 44% and set an aggressive new community-wide goal to reduce ghg emissions 80% by 2030 through “increasing renewable energy usage, phasing out fossil fuels, reducing waste and adopting clean and healthy water, land and sustainable food practices.

Most of Westchester has a moratorium on natural gas usage, which applies to new residential, and commercial and industrial customer gas service connections.

CURRENT NEWS

A Look Into Eco-Friendly Initiatives Across Westchester County

By Gale Ritterhoff 01/20/24
How green is our county? Westchester is striving to preserve and protect the environment on multiple fronts. This is positive news, considering the grim tone of recent climate reports, including the latest National Climate Assessment.…
Read more

Sustainability Is a Serious Deal for These Westchester Businesses

By David Levine 01/06/24
Mike Richter spent his entire first career trying to prevent a certain light from going on. This was the red light behind the goal he tended as the Stanley-Cup-winning backstop of the New York Rangers…
Read more

Senator Mayer and Assemblyman Otis Announce Legislation To Protect Shorelines and the Environment from Increased Climate Change Related Hazards Signed Into Law

By Senator Shelley B. Mayer 10/03/23
Senator Shelley Mayer (SD-37) and Assemblyman Steve Otis (AD-91) held a press conference today to announce the “Living Shorelines” legislation they sponsored (S.5186A/A.5221A) has been signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul. This legislation will…
Read more

10 Ways Climate Change Impacts Westchester

By Joyce Newman 06/02/23
In case you didn’t notice, Spring came a lot earlier this year, along with some very heavy recent rains. If you think it’s just “the usual crazy weather,” think again. In fact, the direct impacts…
Read more

Disgraced hauler has failed to pay fine: Westchester

By Jonathan Bandler 05/31/23
A garbage hauler that lost its contract to run Westchester’s recycling plant after the owner's son passed off strip club visits and other personal spending as business expenses has failed to pay a $300,000 fine,…
Read more

Westchester Environmental Advocates and Elected Officials hold Press Conference for Climate Justice Demands in Yonkers

By AJ Woodson 05/26/23
On May 25, 2023 at 4 pm, NY Renews member organizations, supporting elected officials and allies held a press conference, as part of a series of actions held statewide, calling for the passage of the…
Read more

Sustainable Westchester Names Noah Bramson as its New Executive Director

By Inside Press 05/25/23
After a thorough and rigorous search, Sustainable Westchester, the county’s leading climate action advocate and provider of renewable energy, today announced that City of New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson will take the helm of the…
Read more

Westchester County Office of Economic Development and Sustainable Westchester Team Up to Launch Clean Energy Accelerator Program

05/15/23
he Westchester County Office of Economic Development is pleased to announce it has partnered with Sustainable Westchester to launch a Clean Energy Accelerator Program (CEA). The Program, which includes a Careers Working Group that recently…
Read more

Governor Hochul Celebrates Year of Progress Addressing Longstanding Water Infrastructure Challenges in Mount Vernon

05/11/23
Start of Construction for Third Street Sewer Project Marks Major Milestone in State's Historic $150 Million Environmental Justice Investment. $9 Million Third Street Sewer Project Ensures Reliable Wastewater Service for 4,100 Residents
Read more

Sustainability Committee: Westchester Airport Master Plan Should Strive for Triple Zero

05/02/23
Before the public comment period for the Westchester County Airport Master Plan draws to a close, the Greenwich Sustainability Committee urges Westchester County to embrace a vision beyond compliance and integrate sustainability into the airport…
Read more

Westchester County Police Get A Shiny, New All-Electric Cruiser For Mount Kisco

By Jeff Edwards 02/07/23
The Westchester County Department of Public Safety has obtained its first all-electric marked patrol vehicle and has designated it for assignment to the County Police precinct in the village of Mount Kisco. The 2022 Ford…
Read more

How a Solar and Storage Portfolio Ramped Up a City’s Sustainability and Financial Outlook

By Sonal Patel 07/01/22
The City of White Plains in Westchester County, New York, a densely populated outer suburb of New York City that serves as the county seat and commercial hub of Westchester, had fostered a vision for…
Read more

PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

Action Plan for Climate Change and Sustainable Development

01/10/20
According to the Westchester Action Plan for Climate Change and Sustainable Development, every resident, business, government, K-12 school or college/university in Westchester should strive to reduce its “carbon footprint” by 20 percent by 2015 and…

KEY RESOURCES

About the Westchester Natural Gas Moratorium

10/20/20
In partnership with our customers, stakeholders, and regulators, we have made great improvements to the air quality in our service area with customers converting from oil to natural gas for their heating needs. The demand…

Bedford 2020

01/10/20
Community engagement, education and the creation of grassroots support for climate change projects have been the focus of Bedford 2020 since its creation in 2010. We are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making a difference…

Sustainable Westchester

01/10/20
Sustainable Westchester is the expression of your local governments’ determination to turn our environmental challenges into opportunities to improve the quality of life, economy and future prospects of the citizens of the county. It brings…

Climate Crisis Initiative and Task Force

01/10/20
In 2008, County Executive Andrew Spano created a Global Warming Task Force that produced the Westchester Action Plan for Climate Change and Sustainable Development. Since 2008, the science on climate disruption has become more clear…

Citizens’ Climate Lobby – Westchester NY Chapter

01/10/20
Citizens Climate Lobby is a non-profit, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.

Westchester Power

01/10/20
Westchester Power (Community Choice Aggregation, a/k/a CCA) is a community-based bulk energy purchasing program intended to lower costs and increase the use of renewable energy in Westchester County. Westchester Power is a program initiated and…

Energy Sage: Best solar companies in Westchester County, NY for 2020

01/10/20
Solar installers ready to help in nearby locations.

Clean Transportation Project

01/10/20
Sustainable Westchester has fully embraced the challenge of the 27% of our greenhouse gas footprint that is transportation. We are very enthusiastic about the resurgence in interest in non-automobile mobility, and have actively promoted public…

MORE NEWS

A Look Into Eco-Friendly Initiatives Across Westchester County

By Gale Ritterhoff   01/20/24  
How green is our county? Westchester is striving to preserve and protect the environment on multiple fronts. This is positive news, considering the grim tone of recent climate reports, including the latest National Climate Assessment.…
Read more

Sustainability Is a Serious Deal for These Westchester Businesses

By David Levine   01/06/24  
Mike Richter spent his entire first career trying to prevent a certain light from going on. This was the red light behind the goal he tended as the Stanley-Cup-winning backstop of the New York Rangers…
Read more

Senator Mayer and Assemblyman Otis Announce Legislation To Protect Shorelines and the Environment from Increased Climate Change Related Hazards Signed Into Law

By Senator Shelley B. Mayer   10/03/23  
Senator Shelley Mayer (SD-37) and Assemblyman Steve Otis (AD-91) held a press conference today to announce the “Living Shorelines” legislation they sponsored (S.5186A/A.5221A) has been signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul. This legislation will…
Read more

10 Ways Climate Change Impacts Westchester

By Joyce Newman   06/02/23  
In case you didn’t notice, Spring came a lot earlier this year, along with some very heavy recent rains. If you think it’s just “the usual crazy weather,” think again. In fact, the direct impacts…
Read more

Disgraced hauler has failed to pay fine: Westchester

By Jonathan Bandler   05/31/23  
A garbage hauler that lost its contract to run Westchester’s recycling plant after the owner's son passed off strip club visits and other personal spending as business expenses has failed to pay a $300,000 fine,…
Read more

Westchester Environmental Advocates and Elected Officials hold Press Conference for Climate Justice Demands in Yonkers

By AJ Woodson   05/26/23  
On May 25, 2023 at 4 pm, NY Renews member organizations, supporting elected officials and allies held a press conference, as part of a series of actions held statewide, calling for the passage of the…
Read more

Sustainable Westchester Names Noah Bramson as its New Executive Director

By Inside Press   05/25/23  
After a thorough and rigorous search, Sustainable Westchester, the county’s leading climate action advocate and provider of renewable energy, today announced that City of New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson will take the helm of the…
Read more

Westchester County Office of Economic Development and Sustainable Westchester Team Up to Launch Clean Energy Accelerator Program

05/15/23  
he Westchester County Office of Economic Development is pleased to announce it has partnered with Sustainable Westchester to launch a Clean Energy Accelerator Program (CEA). The Program, which includes a Careers Working Group that recently…
Read more

Governor Hochul Celebrates Year of Progress Addressing Longstanding Water Infrastructure Challenges in Mount Vernon

05/11/23  
Start of Construction for Third Street Sewer Project Marks Major Milestone in State's Historic $150 Million Environmental Justice Investment. $9 Million Third Street Sewer Project Ensures Reliable Wastewater Service for 4,100 Residents
Read more

Sustainability Committee: Westchester Airport Master Plan Should Strive for Triple Zero

05/02/23  
Before the public comment period for the Westchester County Airport Master Plan draws to a close, the Greenwich Sustainability Committee urges Westchester County to embrace a vision beyond compliance and integrate sustainability into the airport…
Read more

Westchester County Police Get A Shiny, New All-Electric Cruiser For Mount Kisco

By Jeff Edwards   02/07/23  
The Westchester County Department of Public Safety has obtained its first all-electric marked patrol vehicle and has designated it for assignment to the County Police precinct in the village of Mount Kisco. The 2022 Ford…
Read more

How a Solar and Storage Portfolio Ramped Up a City’s Sustainability and Financial Outlook

By Sonal Patel   07/01/22  
The City of White Plains in Westchester County, New York, a densely populated outer suburb of New York City that serves as the county seat and commercial hub of Westchester, had fostered a vision for…
Read more