KINGSTON, NY - On the eve of Earth Day, Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger has announced actions aligned with key directives of her Climate Executive Order issued in January. These include proposals to strengthen the County's green fleet and green purchasing policies, both of which will require legislative approval, and a new Ulster County Climate Corps internship program to give young people hands-on experience in developing climate policies and programs.
"I am thrilled to announce these important steps forward in County efforts to tackle the climate crisis and protect the environment for future generations," said Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger. "These updates to the County's laws governing green fleet and green purchasing policies will help us reduce climate-damaging emissions and save taxpayer dollars, while our new Ulster County Climate Corps internship program will provide valuable opportunities for young people to gain job skills and experience while positively contributing to our communities."
Metzger added, "As we mark Earth Day this week, I am excited to continue the work in partnership with the Legislature to build a more sustainable, resilient, and thriving Ulster County that leaves no one behind."
The proposed updates to the green fleet policy will accelerate the electrification of the County's passenger vehicle fleet by requiring new County vehicle purchases to be zero-emissions beginning in 2025, ten years ahead of New York State’s mandate that all vehicles sold in New York are to be zero emissions by 2035. This policy would be a major step forward in the County's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and combat climate change, and would also reduce operational costs through savings on fuel costs and maintenance.
County Executive Metzger also announced proposed amendments to the County's green purchasing policy aimed at reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions while growing the market for recycled materials. Among the new provisions are a requirement for 100% recycled content for all County office paper purchases and a prohibition on purchasing single-use food and beverage plastics for County government uses. The policy update also includes model language from the New York State Office of General Services that qualifies Ulster County to become a certified Green Purchasing Community.
"By prioritizing the purchase of environmentally-responsible products and services, we are not only reducing waste and shrinking our carbon footprint but also growing the market for green alternatives that will create jobs,” said Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger.
In addition to the new green fleet and green purchasing policies, Ulster County is launching the Ulster County Climate Corps – a paid, project-based summer internship program. Participants will be assigned to various County departments to help implement the County government’s climate and sustainability initiatives. Projects will be aligned with the New York StateClimate Smart Communities program actions as well as County Executive Metzger's Executive Order to meet the goals of theNYS Climate Act. The projects will focus on areas such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation.
This internship program is part of a broader effort to recruit and cultivate the next generation for green careers and public service, reflecting the talents and diversity of our community. Interns will gain professional and practical experience in government, supplemented by skill-based training and guest speakers on topics related to the environment, project management, and public administration. Interns will also have opportunities to participate in community engagement and fieldwork.