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DEC Announces Release of First Sustainability Plan

Plan Sets 25 Ambitious Goals to Help Ensure DEC is Leading by Example

Upcoming Decarbonization Projects at DEC Facilities Statewide Demonstrate Versatility of Heat Pump Technology

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the release of the agency’s first-ever sustainability plan, which includes commitments to decarbonize operations and help ensure DECreduces its impact on the environment. Covering the period from 2023 to 2028, the plan identifies 25 goals and 70 actions DEC will take, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, decreasing waste generation, increasing investments in green products and services, conserving water, protecting species and habitat, reducing toxics, engaging employees, and supporting outreach and education. The plan also outlines how DEC will comply with Governor Kathy Hochul’s recently signed Executive Order 22.

“I’m extremely proud that day in and day out, the hardworking employees of DEC lead by example and work to make the agency’s operations more sustainable,” said Commissioner Seggos. “This new plan represents a roadmap for accelerating our progress as we work towards meeting New York’s ambitious climate and environmental goals.”

Highlights of the plan include DEC’s commitment to:

  • carbon neutral operations by 2050;
  • 100 percent renewable electricity use for operations by 2030;
  • 100 percent zero-emission light-duty non-emergency fleet by 2035;
  • 100 percent zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty fleet by 2040;
  • decrease the percentage of employees commuting to worksites alone in a fossil fuel-powered vehicle to under 50 percent by 2028;
  • eliminate single-use plastics in operations by 2025;
  • decrease waste generation by 10 percent by 2028;
  • all staff trained on sustainability goals and practices by the end of 2023.

The plan represents a transparent way of showing all stakeholders how DEC is leading by example. DEC also encourages other organizations in the public and private sectors to create their own sustainability plans to guide progress in their journey to more sustainable operations.

In addition, DEC announced several new building electrification and decarbonization projects being planned at its facilities across the state, including:

  • Cape Vincent Research Station;
  • Cleveland Law Enforcement Academy;
  • Cortland suboffice;
  • Godfrey Point sign shop;
  • Green Island maintenance center;
  • Mount Loretto maintenance center;
  • New Paltz regional office;
  • Northville suboffice; and
  • Ray Brook regional office.

DEC plans to install heat pumps at these facilities to remove fossil fuel-combusting equipment, upgrade outdated equipment, and enhance occupant and visitor comfort. Electric-powered heat pumps provide efficient heating and cooling by taking heat and cold from the environment and moving it indoors to heat the building or outside to cool it. When powered by renewable energy, they provide a zero-emission heating and cooling solution. The wide variety of geographies and types of facilities where DEC is installing heat pumps demonstrate their capability to decarbonize buildings throughout the state.

In addition, DEC is beginning an electric vehicle charging station installation program that will ultimately install 1,400 chargers for DEC’s fleet. These installations will take place at more than 70 locations throughout the state and help ensure DEC is able to meet its commitment to electrify its light-duty fleet by 2035.

New Yorker’s can learn more and read the plan on DEC’s website at