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There’s no part of the plan mandated to occur. (And) We have to consider cost when we consider item actions in it.

Climate action plan still on the table in St. Lawrence County

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St. Lawrence County legislators are scheduled to take another look at a Climate Action Plan next week. When legislators asked the County Planning Department to write the plan last March, they wanted ways to save money by being more energy efficient.

The climate plan was tabled last summer, when students and professors at the four universities in Canton and Potsdam started a cost-benefit analysis of some ideas in the plan.

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The Planning Department wants to incorporate some of the student analysis into the climate plan. But last month County legislators voted not to take the plan off the table. 

Republican Legislator Mark Akins says the 57-page plan is too complex.  But he also says some parts are just common sense.  The plan suggests buying energy efficient vehicles, and doing more tele-commuting, to reduce driving costs.  It also promotes car-pooling by employees.  Akins doesn’t like that idea, "Two people are working side by side, working for county, I would hope they would car pool.  But I’m not going to tell them they have to car-pool."

But supporters of the climate plan say there’s no mandate for things like car-pooling.  Clarkson University political science professor Stephen Bird worked with students on analysis of the plan.  He says car-pooling would be voluntary. 

And Bird says the County would NOT be on the line for any new funding if legislators pass the plan, "There’s no part of the plan mandated to occur.  We have to consider cost when we consider item actions in it."

When doing the cost-benefit analysis, Bird says they were well-aware that the county does not have money to spend on the climate plan.  He says they were looking for ways the county could save money, and for ways it could attract funding from the government and others that offer grants.

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