Coalition Statement on DEP Growing Greener Grants

Coalition Statement on DEP Growing Greener Grants

For Immediate Release:  December 7, 2017

COALITION STATEMENT ON ANNOUNCED GROWING GREENER GRANTS 

(HARRISBURG, PA) The Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition, the largest coalition of conservation, recreation and preservation organizations in the Commonwealth, today issued the following statement from Executive Director Andrew Heath in response to Governor Wolf’s announcement of 106 local water clean-up projects that will receive more than $20.7 million in Growing Greener funding.

“The Coalition applauds the Wolf administration and General Assembly for recognizing the need to improve water quality in Pennsylvania and for investing in projects to enhance our watersheds, mitigate acid mine drainage, and support programs to reduce pollution. 

“These investments through the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund are critical to keeping our drinking water clean and ensuring that current and future generations are able to enjoy our rivers, lakes, streams and other waterways. 

“It is also important to note, however, that funding for Growing Greener program needs to be increased. Funding for Growing Greener has decreased from an estimated average of $200 million in the mid-2000s to less than $60 million this year. This represents a nearly 75 percent reduction.”

“The Coalition urges lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to come together to advance a Growing Greener III initiative to continue investments to protect and preserve Pennsylvania’s water resources as well as our green open spaces, family farms, parks and trails, and historic sites.”

Of the 106 local water clean-up projects awarded through the Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener program, fifty-one are in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Pennsylvania has a federal mandate to reduce nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment pollution in the watershed

The Governor’s press release, including a list of funded projects, can be found at:

https://www.governor.pa.gov/governor-wolf-approves-106-local-water-clean-projects-statewide/

According to the DEP, the Growing Greener grant program is the largest single investment of state funds to address Pennsylvania’s environmental challenges. Since 1999, DEP has provided more than $296 million towards environmental projects statewide.

Established in 1999, the state’s Growing Greener program has funded hundreds of local parks and trail projects, conserved more than 80,000 acres of threatened open space, and restored hundreds of miles of streams and waterways. The program has also protected more than 78,000 acres of farmland, restored more than 1,600 acres of abandoned mine land, and helped reduce flooding and water pollution through 400 watershed protection projects and more than 100 drinking and wastewater treatment improvements.

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