For Immediate Release: September 14, 2011
Renew Growing Greener Coalition Applauds Adams County for Resolution Calling for Renewal of State Funding to Protect Environment
(HARRISBURG, PA) The Renew Growing Greener Coalition today applauded the Adams County Board of Commissioners for passing a resolution calling for the renewal of Growing Greener, the state’s primary source of funding to help local communities preserve open space and farmland, protect water quality, and enhance parks, trails and other recreational opportunities.
“County commissioners from across the Commonwealth understand the incredible importance of restoring funding for Growing Greener,” said Andrew Heath, executive director of the Renew Growing Greener Coalition. “Our Governor and Legislature should heed the public and restore funding for this critical program so future generations continue to have access to clean drinking water, fresh air, locally grown food and green open spaces.”
Growing Greener is a bipartisan program established in 1999 under Governor Tom Ridge and later expanded by Governors Schweiker and Rendell. Since its establishment, Growing Greener has created a legacy of success, preserving more than 33,700 acres of Pennsylvania’s family farmland, conserving more than 42,300 acres of threatened open space, adding 26,000 acres to state parks and forests, and restoring over 16,000 acres of abandoned mine lands.
Moreover, Growing Greener has contributed and leveraged billions of dollars to the Pennsylvania economy by helping to boost tourism, create jobs and generate revenue.
Yet despite the program’s accomplishments, funding for Growing Greener projects and grants fell from an average of approximately $150 million per year for the last six years to $27.3 million in the current state budget. This is an 82 percent cut.
“Adams County cannot afford to lose Growing Greener funds,” said George Weikert, chairman of the Adams County Board of Commissioners. “Growing Greener helps counties like ours leverage other funds that enable us to protect our farms and natural resources, which contribute significantly to our local economy.”
Among other accomplishments, Growing Greener funds have helped Adams County to:
- Preserve nearly 2,000 acres of farmland.
- Protect 2,400 acres of forestland and open space.
- Reduce nutrient runoff and non-point source pollution from farmland, helping to restore area watersheds.
- Stabilize and restore streambanks along two impaired tributaries of Marsh Creek near Gettysburg.
To date, more than 225 organizations and groups have announced their support for renewing Growing Greener. In addition, nearly 90 Pennsylvania municipalities and 23 counties, representing more than 5 million Pennsylvanians, have passed resolutions urging the Governor and Legislature to renew Growing Greener funding.
About the Renew Growing Greener Coalition The Renew Growing Greener Coalition is the Commonwealth’s largest coalition of conservation, recreation and environmental organizations representing over 300 organizations and government entities. For more information on the Coalition, visit www.RenewGrowingGreener.org.