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May 5, 2009 5:40 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Towns look to feds for guidance on green changes

May 5, 2009 5:40 PM

East Hampton and Southampton towns are eligible for funding through the federal stimulus plan for creating green jobs here, and federal lawmakers are touting green work as an industry that could provide economic relief to Long Island much as the aerospace industry did in the 1950s.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act recently passed by Congress includes $2.7 billion in noncompetitive grants for municipalities and an additional $400 million in competitive grants.

Southampton Town will receive $206,000 in formula grants, while neighboring Brookhaven Town will receive a little more than $4 million. East Hampton Town will not receive any formula grants because its population is too small.

According to East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill McGintee, who attended a meeting on the subject in Farmingville with U.S. Representatives Tim Bishop and Steve Israel two weeks ago, only towns with populations greater than 35,000 will receive the noncompetitive grants.

“Their goal is to make the island into a center of green industry,” said Mr. McGintee at a recent Town Board meeting. “They’re not just looking at ‘hey, I’m going to put solar panels on buildings.’ They’re looking for programs that will create jobs and be sustaining.”

Mr. McGintee has asked Town Board member Julia Prince to work with Renewable Energy Long Island director Gordian Raacke on a plan for creating green jobs here, though the federal guidelines for the competitive grants won’t be available until June.

Councilman Brad Loewen was wary of just what green industry would entail.

“Are they envisioning East Hampton having wind farms, being covered with green energy products that feed the grid?” he asked. “I have nothing against green energy. I think it’s great. But a couple of years ago LILCO had a vision of a number of nuclear power plants including one in the Northwest. Obviously that didn’t fit with vision of all the people on Long Island. I just want to know what they’re thinking.”

Mr. McGintee said that the plan could include “manufacturing widgets for windmills that are not here in East Hampton ... We want to train people who live here in these industries.”

Meanwhile, in Southampton Town, the town’s green committee, which is called Sustainable Southampton, is examining options for how to spend its formula grant money.

“You have to be specific about what you want to use it for,” said Town Board member Nancy Graboski, who attended the meeting in Farmingville.

She said that Sustainable Southampton is looking into creating a sustainability department and using some of the money to pay a department head.

“It’s something that I think is certainly well worth it and certainly cost-effective,” she said. “As new initiatives are put in place and you have more efficient lighting fixtures, with a host of strategies you begin saving money.”

Ms. Graboski said that the green committee is currently outlining a potential job description for the sustainability department head. She added that while the federal funds would not sustain the department indefinitely, “it would certainly get it off the ground.”

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Going green is Not creating buildings...it is decreasing size of housing and better efficiency of work being done in comparison to the output of the projects created! If this town really wants a green program...look to head of Pine Barrens...look to the middle class citizens...Please DO NOT look to a over-educated CONSULTANT!
By UNITED states CITIZEN (207), SOUTHAMPTON on May 6, 09 1:37 PM