To the Editor,

This year’s Orangetown supervisor election will be primarily decided based on who is best equipped to manage town finances, protect the character and integrity of our neighborhoods and prevent overdevelopment. These are local issues, not driven by national, ideological or partisan considerations. We have seen in just the last week, however, why certain national issues can matter to towns like ours with President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord. That’s a decision that should concern all of us, regardless of personal political preference.

When I was supervisor, Orangetown passed one of the first local resolutions designed to reduce our carbon footprint. Since then, Orangetown has taken steps to follow through on our pledge, both during my time in office and then continuing under Supervisor Andy Stewart. Just last week, Andy and Deputy Supervisor Allan Ryff visited communities in Westchester County to see how the town’s LED lighting program could be improved and expanded. (Allan – ahead of his time – was also the tie-breaking vote to shutter the town’s sludge incinerator as a town board member in 1990.) More still needs to be done.

President Trump’s actions – widely condemned by nearly every nation, leaders in both the Democratic and Republican parties and the heads of major American corporations – sets a terrible example, particularly for our kids who have been taught about the perils of a warming planet since the day they set foot in their first science class. Protecting the health of our planet is not only good for the environment, but good for business as well. More jobs have recently been created in the emerging green jobs industries – like the production of solar panels – than in the fossil fuel industry itself. The result of keeping a bad campaign promise will not only endanger the health and well being of all Americans, it will also likely be a drag on our economy.

Local communities – from towns and villages to counties and states – are not bound by this misguided action. We have a responsibility to our residents – and a moral obligation to succeeding generations – to do what we can to encourage energy savings and efficiencies and invest in a green economy. All of us should be on the same page on this issue and unite in doing so. Our future depends on it.


Thom Kleiner
The writer, a candidate for Orangetown Supervisor, held that position from 1996-2009

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