For Immediate Release: January 19, 2015
Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition Celebrates Announcement of Department of Environmental Protection Growing Greener Grants
(HARRISBURG, PA) The Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition — the largest coalition of conservation, recreation and preservation organizations in the Commonwealth — today celebrated the approval of more than $23 million in Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Funds through the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to support 109 watershed protection efforts throughout the state.
“These grants will have a lasting impact on the state by supporting vital projects that protect the Commonwealth’s most precious resource – water,” said Andrew Heath, executive director of the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition.
The Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund (ESF) derives its revenue from the state’s “tipping fee,” the cost disposing trash in the Commonwealth. Each year the fee generates about $60 million for the ESF fund, but due to legislation passed with the Growing Greener II program in 2005, about $40 million of that revenue is used to pay the yearly Growing Greener II bond debt service.
On the other hand, Act 13, the impact fees on natural gas drilling, generates new funds for the ESF. Revenues from 10 percent of the Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund, along with a $35 million yearly transfer from the state’s Oil and Gas Lease Fund, help to ensure that water protection, conservation and recreation efforts continue across the Commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition was instrumental in ensuring that funds collected through the Marcellus Legacy Fund be made available for statewide environmental, conservation, and recreation projects.
The recently announced DEP grants will be used to protect our water resources by improving watersheds, reducing stormwater runoff and acid mine drainage, and supporting public outreach efforts.
A recent report issued by the DEP stated that Pennsylvania has nearly 20,000 miles of waterways that are considered impaired.
“This is more evidence that cleaning our rivers and streams must be a higher priority to our elected officials in Harrisburg,” Heath said. “More investments are needed to address this growing concern.”