Elk County Joins Effort to Renew Growing Greener

For Immediate Release:  November 15, 2011

Renew Growing Greener Coalition Applauds Elk County for Resolution Calling for Renewal of State Funding to Protect Environment 

(HARRISBURG, PA) The Renew Growing Greener Coalition today applauded Elk County for passing a resolution calling for the renewal of Growing Greener, the state’s primary source of funding to help local communities protect water quality, preserve open space and farmland, and enhance parks, trails and other recreational opportunities.

“The Coalition commends the Elk County Commissioners for recognizing the significant contributions Growing Greener has made to the community from protecting drinking water to protecting open space,” said Andrew Heath, executive director of the Renew Growing Greener Coalition. “It is the Coalition’s sincere hope that the legislature – as it debates funding for the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund – realizes that public support for the program continues to grow.”

At least 140 government entities including 31 counties – representing more than 7.5 million Pennsylvanians – have adopted resolutions in support of the program.

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 107,000 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, capping more than 2,100 abandoned wells 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, more than an 80 percent reduction.

“Elk County has benefited tremendously from investments supported by Growing Greener,” said County Commissioner Dan Freeburg. “If the Environmental Stewardship Fund is depleted, we will have a much harder time completing projects that are important to maintaining the quality of life in Elk County.”

Among other accomplishments, Growing Greener has benefited Elk County by:

  • Investing $5.5 million in reclaiming nearly 280 acres of abandoned mine lands in Gray Hill, Kersey, Caledonia Northwest, Dents Run and Porcupine Hollow.
  • Plugging 108 abandoned wells in Jones and Benezette townships.
  • Restoring water quality within Big Mill Creek with the remediation acid deposition.
  • Protecting drinking water with more than $1 million in investments to wastewater treatment facilities.

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.

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