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County lawmakers cool on climate plan

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CANTON — A climate action plan for St. Lawrence County appears dead after revisions failed to satisfy legislators.

The plan — already tabled several times — failed to make it to the floor for discussion at a recent committee meeting when it did not receive a second.

“I was surprised,” said Legislator Scott M. Sutherland, R-Pierrepont, who made the motion to reintroduce the plan. “Its fate was always up in the air, and I thought there would at least be more discussion on it.”

Legislators in January split over whether to ask the county Planning Office to make revisions. Some legislators were unhappy with underlying premises. Others worried it committed the county to unaffordable projects. Some legislators thought it made more sense to adopt individual parts of the plan.

The document was renamed the energy plan but other changes were scant, said Legislator Kevin D. Acres, R-Madrid, who had not liked the first draft of the 50-page report.

“I think it wasn’t revised enough,” Legislative Chairwoman Sallie A. Brothers, D-Norfolk, said. “It just didn’t go anywhere. The very fact that it wasn’t brought up at all isn’t promising.”

The report included an introduction to climate-change science, suggested limits to carbon-dioxide emissions and had an inventory of greenhouse gases produced by county operations. The report also included green office practices and other ways of improving energy efficiency.

The county might still consider some of the practices without a comprehensive guide.

Without a plan, however, the county could be ineligible for certain grants in the future, Mr. Sutherland said.

“I’m pretty disappointed,” he said. “A lot of work was put into it and the revisions and none of it came to fruition. Maybe some of it will in the future.”

Legislator Alex M. MacKinnon, R-Fowler, said the plan is of lesser importance given the county’s fiscal difficulties.

“It’s not a priority for me,” he said. “We’re trying to keep the county afloat.”

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