Testa, A Leader on Protecting the Environment

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County Legislator John Testa has a been a leader on environmental issues for two decades and has a long record of initiatives he has supported and spearheaded. Testa’s record is well documented starting back from when he was Mayor of Peekskill. His active involvement in developing and promoting environmentally friendly policies continues to the present during his time as Westchester County Legislator for Cortlandt Manor, the City of Peekskill and the Town of Yorktown.

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Two of Testa’s former students at PHS performing lab tests on a electric generating wind turbine.

Testa was a high school teacher of Technology for over 30 years at Peekskill High School and used his interest in alternative energy sources as part of his curriculum. Before solar and wind energy use became commonplace, Testa used his classes to design, build and test various prototypes of alternative energy. “It was a very exciting time for the class because students would actually test their designs to see how well they generated power,” Testa said. “It became a friendly competition to see whose prototype worked best, whether it be a solar hot water unit or oven or a wind driven device. It was a way to have fun and learn at the same time,” Testa said.

Once becoming an elected official Testa was determined to use his position to advance pro-environmental policies. Let’s look closer at some of the major environmental successes Testa has had while in office.

As Mayor of Peekskill, John Testa…

instituted a comprehensive solid waste removal program with an emphasis on     increasing citywide recycling;

initiated a project to construct a new state-of-the-art water treatment facility;

worked jointly with Scenic Hudson on a 4.5-acre former industrial waterfront property called “Peekskill Landing” to clean up the land, the shoreline and preserve open space;

worked closely with the DEC to develop a remediation plan for a 4-acre area originally utilized as the city landfill;

secured a grant from The NY State Power Authority to replace 10 city owned fossil fuel vehicles with electric cars;

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Mayor Testa was a familiar sight driving through the city promoting the use of electric vehicles.

worked with representatives in Albany to establish a Conservation Easement with the State of New York that will permanently assure that the 500 acres of Peekskill owned property surrounding its reservoirs would be undevelopable;

secured an agreement to have a 45-acre parcel known as “Fort Hill” declared historic parkland;

instituted a Certified Local Government Landmarks Board that has helped to ensure the preservation of buildings within the Downtown Historic District;

encouraged adaptive re-use of buildings throughout the city resulting in a record number of preserved structures and National Register designations which led Peekskill to be recognized by the US Department of the Interior as a “Preserve America Community;”

Secured an agreement with the NYS Power Authority to install over 600 energy-efficient traffic and pedestrian signals within the Peekskill Business District.

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Legislator Testa has a record of working in a bi-partisan manner and with all levels of government across the Hudson Valley to promote environmental protection policies.

Since January of 2010 Testa has been a county legislator and has continued his dedication to presenting and supporting environmentally sensitive policies. During each term as legislator, Testa has been a member of the Environment and Energy Committee, which has recently been reconstituted as two separate committees, “Energy and Regional Efficiencies” and “Environment and Health.” Testa is an active member of both.

As Westchester County Legislator, Testa…

sponsored a County Resolution to oppose oil barge anchorages in Hudson River. Westchester was the first county to officially oppose with neighboring counties following suit, causing federal representatives to oppose the plan;

worked closely with the county’s partner, Energize NY, to complete major energy upgrade project for Drum Hill Senior Living Facility in Peekskill and solar panel installation at St. Christopher’s Church in Buchanan;

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supported county law to eliminate #4 and #6 heating fuel;

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA developed and implemented land-use plans, stormwater and runoff management plans, public infrastructure standards and building codes to adapt to climate change risks (i.e., severe weather events, rising waters, extreme temperatures);

participated in creating a program to survey all county owned buildings to determine the feasibility of installing solar panels and the incorporation of alternative energy sources to any building projects and upgrades;
supported legislation that decreased the cost and simplified the process for small plumbing and electrical businesses to become solar installers in Westchester;

supported the implementation of a hybrid vehicle policy for county vehicles;

supported the implementation of an extended recycling law;

promoted home energy audits and tax breaks for solar panel installation in homes;

supported law to prevent the use of hydrofracking fluids in Westchester;

supported a County resolution regarding the Algonquin AIM Gas Pipeline project calling for various safety and risk assessments to be conducted by numerous Federal agencies involved in the project approval process;

secured the funding to totally rehabilitate close to 5 miles of county owned roads in the district. These roadways are the key east-west corridor for Northern Westchester and had not been brought up to standards for many decades. Now, these roads are up to 21st Century ADA and pedestrian safe standards;

directly involved in the review and approval of local farms and the expansion of the availability of locally grown and produced foods. He supported the creation and expansion of local Farmer’s Markets, including the recent addition by the City of Peekskill to establish an indoor market during the winter months and also the initiative by the Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt Manor (now known as the NY-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital) to create the “Harvest for Heath” program which includes a weekly Farmer’s Market, organic garden and a teaching kitchen;

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supported the recently passed county legislation prohibiting the sale of toxic children’s products;

called for a full environmental assessment study on the effects of the plan to close Indian Point. In addition to no credible plan to replace the lost energy generated by the plant, the over $40 million in local economic devastation to municipalities, school district and small businesses was never considered;

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Legislator Testa appeared at the FERC Scoping Session in Cortlandt Manor on the EIS for the AIM project to present the resolution that he and his 16 legislative colleagues unanimously passed calling for safety and risk assessments be conducted by the involved agencies with the project.

Despite his long and consistent record in the area of environmental protection, Testa is not ready to slow down. “Yes, I am proud of my record protecting the environment but there is still much more to do,” Testa said. “I am very interested in the continuous advancements in solar and electric related power generation and how we can expand their use in homes and vehicles. Sustainable development initiatives are critical to the future of our communities,” Testa added.

NYLCV Endorse Ad.jpgWe are fortunate to have John Testa as a representative in Westchester County government as a strong advocate for policies focused on environmental protection, especially at this crucial time. There are always issues of concern regarding the environment but none larger than the two issues facing Westchester: the closure of Indian Point and the proposed Barge Anchorage sites along the Hudson River. Testa is in the forefront of both of these issues fighting to protect the communities he represents and the environment surrounding them.

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About Legislator John G. Testa

John G. Testa, a life-long resident of Peekskill, began his first term on the Westchester County Legislature in January 2010. Prior to his successful run for the District 1 Legislative seat, he served 3 terms as Mayor of Peekskill from January 2002 until December 2007. Before becoming mayor he also served a four-year term as a Councilman. From his first days in office Testa worked tirelessly to set the City on the path of economic stability. Peekskill flourished under this plan, increasing the city fund balance to its highest in history. During John’s tenure in office, the NY State Comptroller’s Office named Peekskill one of the most fiscally sound municipalities in the State; independent auditors proclaimed Peekskill as being in its best fiscal condition in over 30 years; and Moody’s Investor Service agreed to upgrade its bond rating, resulting in further savings. The plan he put in place was so successful that it enabled the City of Peekskill to pass three budgets in a row with a 0% tax increase. These fiscal skills will prove valuable to Testa as he works to put the brakes on what has been wildly escalating county spending and unchecked government growth. He has pledged his efforts to work to consolidate services, eliminate wasteful spending and improve efficiency. In addition to the fiscal conservatism that served Peekskill so well, Testa worked to promote the city, attracting investment, jobs and an increased tax base. Over $100 million of private investment came to Peekskill in the forms of new residential construction, retail space, and the redevelopment of historic structures. As Mayor, Testa led a successful battle to stop the unfair and unsafe plan to send sewage to the Peekskill plant from outside the sewage/water district. John’s roots are deep within the soil of Northern Westchester. His father’s family has lived here for more than a century and his mother’s family is nearing that mark. He is proud that he was born in Peekskill and has lived and worked here all his life and, with his wife Nancy raised their two children here.
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One Response to Testa, A Leader on Protecting the Environment

  1. tpisani1 says:

    Thanks for all you do, John.

    Sent from my iPhone

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