Coalition Commends Reps. Murt, DiGirolamo for Supporting Growing Greener

For Immediate Release: September 20, 2011 

Renew Growing Greener Coalition Commends Reps. Murt, DiGirolamo for Standing Up for Growing Greener
Coalition Looks Forward to Details of Marcellus Shale Drilling Severance Tax Legislation

(HARRISBURG, PA) The Renew Growing Greener Coalition today commended State Reps. Tom Murt (R-Montgomery) and Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) for plans to introduce legislation establishing a severance tax on natural gas drilling that includes funding for the state’s Growing Greener program.

Coalition Executive Director Andrew Heath issued the following statement:

“The Renew Growing Greener Coalition commends Reps. Murt and DiGirolamo for standing up for Growing Greener. We are encouraged by their proposal for a severance tax on Marcellus Shale drilling and that they call for a portion of the revenues to be used for offsetting the statewide impacts that drilling will have on our water, air and land.

“The Coalition agrees that it is long past time that Pennsylvania assess a reasonable tax or fee on deep gas drilling and is pleased that the legislators recognize the importance of making long-term investments in our natural resources and environmental programs.

“The Coalition looks forward to learning the full details of the plan and to working with the Governor and the legislature to restore funding for the state’s award-winning Growing Greener program so we can address the conservation, recreation and environmental impacts that drilling will cause across the Commonwealth.”

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 Governor’s proposed budget. This is an 82 percent cut at a critical time when the natural gas drilling boom poses significant threats statewide to our water, air and environment.

To date, 230 organizations and groups have announced their support for renewing Growing Greener.  In addition, at least 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 nearly 350 organizations and government entities.  For more information on the Coalition, visit www.RenewGrowingGreener.org.

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