Relaunch of Environmental Leaders Learning Alliance!

ELLA 21Mar19.JPG

ELLA is a cooperative of local leaders whose goal is to

help municipalities make more informed land use decisions.

As some of you may know, ELLA has a successful history of training municipal leaders on environmental topics and providing resources that expand members’ access to scientific and regulatory expertise. The program has been on hiatus these last few years, but now with renewed capacity, FCWC will be partnering with Teatown & Pace University to revive ELLA in 2019. 


The services ELLA provides are meant to enhance environmental awareness in Hudson Valley communities, resulting in better planning and more sustainable growth. Membership is free to individuals actively serving on a Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Conservation Board, Conservation Advisory Committee, Open Space Committee, or related group.


Over the next year, members will have access to:

  • Quarterly training workshops and educational programs (first event March 21, see below)

    • Past workshop topics include: SEQRA, Critical Environmental Areas, Wetlands, Stormwater, Open Space Planning, and Low-Impact Development

  • A new and improved ELLA website with expanded resources

  • An ELLA newsletter with industry news, latest best practices, and local insights

  • An interactive listserv for ELLA updates and networking

Mark your calendars: Our first event will be held on Thursday, March 21, 2019 6:30-8:30 pm at Teatown Lake Reservation with speaker Peter McCartt, the Westchester County Director of Energy Conservation and Sustainability. Details to follow. RSVP to

NYS Food Recovery & Recycling Act Needs Your Support! 


Currently there is legislation in both the NYS Assembly and Senate that would require large generators of food scraps (2 tons or more per week) to either donate or recycled the food scraps.  This is similar to legislation that has been enacted in other states such as Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and others.


Although the legislation wouldn't initially require individual households to recycle food scraps, the legislation would support residential food scrap recycling programs in NY by providing an impetus for improved and increased infrastructure in the state to support food scrap recycling.  In other words as large generators need to recycle their food scraps, more haulers, composting facilities, etc. are likely to get into the market which is beneficial to all food scrap recycling programs.  This type of legislation also often starts with large generators, but eventually moves to all food scraps including those generated by households.


There is one aspect in the proposed legislation however that needs to be adjusted in order for the legislation to be effective.  The legislation currently proposes a 15 mile radius as the maximum distance a generator can be from a composting facility before they are exempted from participating.  This limited distance would cause the proposal to have almost no impact in places such as Westchester, NYC and really throughout the NYS, where there are generally no food scrap recycling facilities within such a short distance.  Note: The Food Industry Alliance, a lobbying group funded by supermarkets and restaurants along with the Restaurant Association teamed up to lobby the radius for this legislation down to 15 miles. 


The legislation therefore needs to have a 60 mile radius in order to have a true impact in our state.


If you want to see food scraps recycling become an integral part of our daily lives and economy in Westchester, call your state senators and state assembly people, make them aware of the issue and ask them to both sign on to the bill AND propose the change to a 60 mile radius. Better still, request a meeting with your State Assembly Member or State Senator!


Ron Schulhof, Chair and Michelle Sterling, Member of the Scarsdale CAC and the original drivers of the food scraps recycling movement in Westchester have provided this information and the attached sample letter *pdf that you can edit to send to your own NYS Assembly Member and NYS Senator.

FCWC salutes the Scarsdale community for their leadership in this and other high impact environmental initiatives!


And thank YOU for doing your part to push for progress in our municipalities, county and state!