Undergraduates are trained citizen advocates from the Environmental Policy Clinic of the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies
PLEASANTVILLE, NY, April 8, 2014 – Last week, the new Environmental Policy Clinic at Pace University celebrated its first victory when the Village of Ossining Board of Trustees unanimously adopted an energy resiliency policy authored by clinic students. The policy lays the groundwork for creating a community microgrid, and competing for some of the $40 million that will be available under the NYPrize program Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in his 2014 State of the State Address.
“Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene awakened communities up and down the Atlantic coast that they must be energy self-sufficient in order to protect key services that assure public safety,” said Michelle Land, director of the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, which launched the clinic in January. “A microgrid is a locally-based energy supply and distribution system that uses cutting-edge technologies to produce reliable power even when the rest of the grid goes down.”
The four undergraduate Pace students who compose the clinic’s Energy Resilience Team worked closely with Pace Law’s Energy and Climate Center, its Land Use Law Center and the village’s planning department. The resolution by the village board enacting the new policy is a first step toward the development of its “Energy Resiliency Strategy 2014” that will use microgrids to serve the village and collaborating public and private entities, particularly in times of emergency.
“Communities along the tidal Hudson are vulnerable to a new generation of coastal storms and hurricanes that are more destructive due to the effects of climate change,” said Land. “In the case of Ossining, essential facilities are located on or near the water’s edge, and in harm’s way during extreme storm events.”
Ossining’s waterfront is an infrastructure hub in the Lower Hudson that includes Westchester County’s Ossining wastewater treatment plant, the Ossining Metro North commuter station and parking, a Metro North substation, a Consolidated Edison substation, and Sing Sing Correctional facility. In addition, the Ossining Village Water District, which requires an uninterrupted power source, serves a population of more than 30,000, including residents of the neighboring Town of Ossining.
In adopting the Resiliency Strategy, the village trustees recognized not only the importance of a constant flow of power for essential Village services, but the economic and environmental benefits of these new technologies as well. From the resolution:
“Governmental policies that affect our energy infrastructure affect every New Yorker. Consequently, New York’s energy policy must meet the interrelated goals of providing affordable and reliable energy, improving our environment and creating jobs and economic growth through energy policy as we transition to a more efficient, lower carbon and cleaner, greener energy economy.”
A key element of Governor Cuomo’s statewide energy strategy released in 2010 is support for local power generation that is cost competitive, meets environmental goals, and creates jobs and economic activity that support the State and local tax base.
The adopted resolution can be found here on the Environmental Policy Clinic’s blog.
About Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies
The mission of Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies is to advance the understanding of the mutually enhancing relationship between nature and society through a University-wide program of interdisciplinary pedagogy, scholarship, policy development and service. A freestanding institute within the university, Pace Academy is dedicated to renewing and deepening Pace’s time-honored commitment to environmental research, scholarship, and service. Pace Academy’s website is here.
The Environmental Policy Clinic is a program of full-time civic engagement where student clinicians, in a team setting, work as professional environmental policy practitioners under the supervision of faculty from Pace Academy, and in consultation with faculty from across Pace schools and colleges. Their primary responsibility is to design and implement new policies and policy reforms that address real world environmental issues by representing “client,” non-profit and governmental organizations from the community and region.
Clinic faculty include: Michelle Land, professor of environmental policy and law, and director of both Pace Academy and the Environmental Consortium of Colleges and Universities; John Cronin, Pace Academy’s senior fellow for environmental affairs and former Hudson Riverkeeper; and Andrew Revkin, Pace Academy’s senior fellow for environmental understanding, and blogger for The New York Times Dot Earth blog. More about the Clinic here.
Pace Academy also serves as the headquarters for the Environmental Consortium of Colleges & Universities. The Environmental Consortium was established in 2004 to help facilitate our understanding of the cultural, social, political, economic, and natural factors affecting the region. The Environmental Consortium’s mission is to harness higher education’s intellectual and physical resources to advance regional, ecosystem-based environmental research, teaching, and learning with a special emphasis on the greater Hudson-Mohawk River watershed. More about the Consortium here.
About Pace University
Since 1906, Pace University has educated thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, Law School, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu
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