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The original item was published from 2/9/2023 9:03:28 AM to 2/24/2023 12:00:01 AM.

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Posted on: February 9, 2023

[ARCHIVED] City of Easthampton Awarded $50,000 for Climate Action Plan


City of Easthampton awarded $50,000 from the Department of Revenue, Division of Local Services FY23 Best Practices Community Compact Program for funding assistance in developing a Climate Action Plan.


Easthampton, MA – the City was recently awarded $50,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Division of Local Services via the Best Practices Community Compact Program. The award is for financial assistance in hiring Weston & Sampson to develop a City-Wide Climate Action Plan (CAP). The plan will determine a realistic timeline for the City to achieve net-zero carbon emissions through actions identified in the Plan. 


This project demonstrates the concerted and coordinated effort of my office, the Planning Department, and the Energy Advisory Committee to reduce the use of fossil fuels and carbon emissions in the City as a whole. Through this effort, the City will align itself with energy efficiency and sustainability goals established by the State while also providing a means of achieving these goals that is tailored to our resident's needs and concerns.  This Climate Action Plan will guide our community to achieving a cleaner, more efficient, and sustainable future.”, said Mayor Nicole LaChapelle.


The CAP will serve as a roadmap for local businesses, residents, and municipal offices to achieve a cleaner, net-zero carbon-emitting City. The plan will examine the work we’ve already 

done and identify what City offices, residents, and local businesses can do next to make the most of the coming State and Federal incentives to support these improvements. The plan's development will also result in recommendations for increasing the City’s resiliency through an analysis of our existing resiliency work and plans. 


The need to take on the development of this comprehensive plan has been emphasized since the City Council passed its resolution declaring a Climate Emergency in 2021. The City has been working towards increasing our resiliency to the impacts of Climate Change through previous actions, such as continuing our commitment to maintaining our Green Community designation,

utilizing Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness planning and action grants, and establishing EV Chargers and Valley Bike connections.”, said City Planner Jeff Bagg. 


The Best Practices Community Compact Program grant application to help supplement the cost of the development of the CAP as well as the crafting of the scope of services to be followed by Weston & Sampson, were completed in collaboration between the Conservation Agent Cassie Tragert, the Energy Advisory Committee, and the Planning Department. Commitment to securing funding opportunities to reduce the City’s dependence on fossil fuels was solidified by the Mayor pledging to utilize ARPA funding to provide the additional $100,000 needed to develop the plan.


Creating a clear and comprehensive plan is crucial in eliminating the City’s dependence on fossil fuels. After identifying an achievable timeline and specific means of accomplishing net-zero carbon emissions, the plan will include guidance on tracking our progress and establishing benchmark goals. The plan will also have a special emphasis on learning from and supporting our Environmental Justice communities which are most vulnerable to the threats of Climate Change. Public outreach will be an integral part of the creation of this plan and collaboration with various Boards, Committees, and departments within the City, which will help to ensure that it is designed specifically for success in our community.”, said Agent Tragert. 


The plan will work to evaluate and incorporate the numerous ongoing projects towards combating Climate Change already underway. This includes the Honeywell energy efficiency improvements, implementation of the Green Infrastructure Master Plan (including improvements to Cherry Street and Emerald Place), the development of a City-wide Pollinator Plan, and the pursuit of conversion of the City’s fleet to electric vehicles.  The City recently finalized its contract with Weston & Sampson to begin working to develop the Climate Action Plan within the next month, and it will take a little over one year to complete the plan. Community members are encouraged to stay tuned for requests for input and public meetings to come. 


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