We go to a lot of political events throughout the course of election season that cover all manner of topics. They talk about the economy, coronavirus, the Supreme Court, broadband access, criminal …
We go to a lot of political events throughout the course of election season that cover all manner of topics. They talk about the economy, coronavirus, the Supreme Court, broadband access, criminal justice reform, budget deficits, healthcare, addiction, agriculture and just about anything else you can imagine.
These are all very important issues. While the environment is sometimes discussed, it should be included much more in the conversation based on how often that topic impacts so many others.
Here in Sullivan County, the environment is one of our main selling points. We want to attract tourists to the Sullivan Catskills in order to enjoy our lakes, rivers, forests, hiking trails and all the natural beauty we have to offer. Our economic well- being is linked to the environment. Our agricultural well-being is linked to the environment. It stands to reason then that everything we have and hope to be depends on preserving our environmental character.
Those efforts can sometimes be humble, but are impactful all the same. We reported last week that the Town of Tusten is replacing all their street lights with LED bulbs. The Town of Tusten is joined in this effort by other communities throughout Sullivan County who are either designated or in the process of being designated Climate Smart Communities.
In fact, NYSEG recently completed the conversion of 959 street lights to new LED lighting systems in the Village of Monticello to replace older “cobra head” style lighting to newer and more energy efficient LED systems which use approximately 50 percent less energy and provide other benefits to village residents. In total, the company has converted approximately 30,000 traditional cobra head street lights to more efficient LED lights in its service area across New York state.
It may seem like a small thing, but LED lighting benefits the environment and local budgets at the same time. LED lights are between 40 and 60 percent more energy efficient than traditional lighting technologies. Simply by using LED luminaries, it is possible to provide better quality lighting, lower energy consumption, and reduce CO2 emissions all at the same time.
We're also encouraged by the growth of the solar industry here in Sullivan County, as well as an increasing number of EV charging stations for electric vehicles.
We can disagree with each other on the details of smart environmental policy, but finding common sense solutions that help us transition toward a more sustainable future should not be a partisan issue. If our cash-strapped municipalities can save money while doing the right thing, that's even better.
We urge all our elected officials and candidates running for public office to do more to reach across the aisle, find common ground and do what's best not only for the here and now but for future generations to come.
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