Ulster County’s scenic beauty and natural resources are the cornerstone of both our economy and our quality of life, but we continuously face threats to our pristine environment from both a global and local perspective. Because threats to our environment can mean damage to our economy and higher costs to taxpayers, Mike has made energy efficiency and strong environmental stewardship part of his foundation for smart, low-cost government.
As County Executive, Mike Hein works tirelessly to make our County greener, safer, and more resilient. With 100% of Ulster County’s electricity coming from renewable resources, the largest concentration of municipal-sponsored electric car charging stations in upstate New York, bio diesel buses, and the only New York County to earn the “Net Carbon Neutral” designation, Ulster County is now the most environmentally friendly County in the State.
Protecting Our Waterways
As the home of New York City’s Ashokan Reservoir, Ulster County has historically been marginalized when it comes to managing the reservoir’s operations. But when New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) dumped highly concentrated turbid water from the Reservoir system into the Lower Esopus Creek, Mike took action. After the DEP refused to act responsibly, Mike brought in the State Attorney General’s office and organized public pressure with the support of community groups and elected officials, finally pressuring DEP into doing what was right. The DEP no longer has the option of conducting unilaterally decided, unregulated releases that negatively impact the Esopus.
Professionally managing this complex relationship and recognizing the community and tourism value of this resource, Mike has forged an agreement with New York City to open public access to Ashokan Reservoir lands for the first time in over 100 years with a “world class” Rail Trail proposal along the scenic reservoir.
National Award-Winning Plan to Reduce Ulster County’s Carbon Footprint
County Executive Hein is committed to a more sustainable future for Ulster County. Working to make Ulster a statewide leader in energy efficiency, Mike’s work to reduce our carbon footprint includes:
- Making Ulster County’s energy usage 100% renewable.
- Significantly increasing the use of hybrid public buses in our fleet of County buses.
- Outfitting the Department of Public Works’ New Paltz Sub-station with Solar Panels.
- Retrofitting all external lighting in Ulster County’s Golden Hill complex with high efficiency lights.
- Saving taxpayers money and reducing energy usage at County buildings by converting to energy efficient LED lights.
- Signing the Sustainable Energy Loan Program into law to help local businesses convert to clean energy.
- Banning the use of environmentally harmful polystyrene containers at local fast food restaurants.
- Establishing the largest concentration of electric car charging stations in Upstate New York.