For Immediate Release: May 27, 2011
Renew Growing Greener Coalition Applauds Indiana County for Resolution Calling for Renewal of State Funding to Protect Environment
Indiana County Joins More Than 80 Municipalities and Counties Urging Support for Growing Greener
(INDIANA, PA) The Renew Growing Greener Coalition today applauded the Indiana County Board of Commissioners for passing a resolution calling for the renewal of Growing Greener, the state’s primary source of funding to help local communities preserve open space and farmland, protect water quality, provide parks and recreation, and clean up abandoned mines.
“Funding for Growing Greener will run dry unless the state Legislature and Governor Corbett act now to renew it,” said Heath. “Even through these difficult economic times, County Commissioners and Pennsylvanians from across the Commonwealth understand the incredible importance of renewing funding for Growing Greener in order to ensure families have access to clean drinking water, fresh air and green open spaces.”
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 34,000 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, and restoring over 16,000 acres of abandoned mine lands.
In 2002, a dedicated source of revenue for Growing Greener was identified in an increase in the state’s “tipping fee,” the fee charged for dumping trash in Pennsylvania’s landfills. Those funds were supplemented by a $625 million bond approved by voters in 2005, called Growing Greener II. Unless action is taken, those funds will be largely exhausted as of June 30th, with most of the Growing Greener I tipping fees going to the debt service on the Growing Greener II bonds.
“Our state is losing three times more forest, wildlife habitat, farmland and other open spaces to development than it is able to preserve,” said David Frick, vice-chairman of the Indiana County Board of Commissioners. “The Commissioners encourage and support the renewal of Growing Greener by the General Assembly and new Governor with a dedicated and long-term funding source.”
Indiana County joins more than 80 other Pennsylvania municipalities and counties in passing a resolution urging the Governor and legislature to renew Growing Greener funding. Counties passing resolutions include: Blair, Cambria, Erie, Fayette, Greene, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Philadelphia, Pike, Somerset, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Washington, Westmoreland, Wyoming and York.
The Renew Growing Greener Coalition is the Commonwealth’s largest coalition of conservation, recreation and environmental organizations representing over 280 organizations and government entities. For more information on the Coalition, visit www.RenewGrowingGreener.org.