The partner organizations of the Growing Greener Coalition are encouraged that Governor Wolf’s executive budget upholds Pennsylvania’s traditional state investments in projects that protect water, conserve land, and enhance outdoor recreation. With the Governor’s budget:
- The Environmental Stewardship Fund (aka Growing Greener), established in 1999, will continue its tremendously successful support of tangible projects that protect and restore water quality, preserve farmland, and make other environmental improvements.
- The Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, established in 1993 with nearly unanimous General Assembly support and overwhelming voter backing in a public referendum, will continue its extraordinarily effective investments in developing and improving parks and trails; protecting open spaces important to communities; and restoring libraries.
The Governor’s budget also constructively addresses a number of other environmental funding matters: proposing to recapitalize the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund with a $1/ton fee increase on disposing of waste in landfills; a capital program to remediate lead and asbestos threats; and funding badly needed positions at the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
While the Coalition is heartened by the Governor’s budget (particularly as it compares to last year’s), this feeling is tempered by the awareness that there is a tremendous backlog of environmental infrastructure needs requiring the state’s attention and demanding much higher levels of investment:
- 19,000 miles of Pennsylvania rivers and streams are unsafe for drinking, swimming, fishing, and boating.
- State parks and forests require nearly $1 billion in necessary repairs.
- More than 200,000 acres of abandoned mine lands and thousands of brownfield sites pollute our water and threaten human health and safety.
- The list goes on.
The Coalition urges Senators, Representatives, and the Governor to recognize that these real challenges require action—whether that’s via the Governor’s Restore PA proposal or some other vehicle. Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to safe water and preservation of the natural environment. It is also, plain and simple, the right thing to do.
For background information regarding topics addressed in this communication, the Coalition finds the following resources useful:
- Environmental Stewardship Fund: https://esfund.info/
- Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund: https://keystonefund.org/
- Detailed reporting on environmental line items in the Governor’s executive budget: https://paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com/2020/02/gov-wolfs- budget-proposal-repairs.html
Contact information for Growing Greener Coalition Partners:
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Harry Campbell, PA Executive Director [email protected]
Conservation Voters of PA Katie Blume, Political Director [email protected]
Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds R. John Dawes, Executive Director [email protected]
Lancaster Farmland Trust Jeffrey Swinehart, Chief Operating Officer [email protected]
Natural Lands Oliver P. Bass, President [email protected]
PennFuture (Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future) Jacquelyn Bonomo, President & CEO [email protected]
Pennsylvania Environmental Council John Walliser, Senior Vice President
Pennsylvania Land Trust Association Andrew M. Loza, Executive Director [email protected]
Pennsylvania Park and Forest Foundation Marci Mowery, President [email protected]
Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society Tim Herd, CEO [email protected]
Sierra Club PA Chapter Jen Quinn, Legislative and Political Director [email protected]
The Conservation Fund Kyle D. Shenk, Pennsylvania State Director [email protected]
The Nature Conservancy, PA Chapter Ronald L. Ramsey, Senior Policy Advisor [email protected]
The Trust for Public Land Owen Franklin, Pennsylvania State Director [email protected]
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Derek Eberly, Pennsylvania Field Organizer [email protected]
Trout Unlimited Jennifer Orr-Greene, Mid-Atlantic Policy Director [email protected]
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Cynthia Carrow, Vice President [email protected]