For Immediate Release: February 2, 2017
GROWING GREENER COALITION TO GOVERNOR, LEGISLATURE: MORE FUNDING NEEDED FOR ENVIRONMENT, NOT LESS
(HARRISBURG, PA) The Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition, the largest coalition of conservation, recreation and preservation organizations in Pennsylvania, today called on Gov. Tom Wolf and the Legislature to provide more funding to protect Pennsylvania’s water, land and other natural resources, not less.
“As Governor Wolf prepares to present his budget next week, we want to remind him and the Legislature that Pennsylvania needs more funding to protect our water, land and other natural resources, not less,” said Andrew Heath, executive director of the Coalition. “While we recognize the current fiscal challenges facing the state, this budget must not and cannot be balanced at the expense of the environment.”
“Cuts to state programs like Growing Greener, Keystone and Farmland Preservation are unacceptable,” Heath continued. “Further, any new revenue proposals must include funding for Growing Greener to ensure that Pennsylvanians continue to have access to clean water, green open spaces, parks and outdoor recreational opportunities, and nutritious, locally grown food.”
Funding for Growing Greener has decreased from an estimated average of $200 million in the mid-2000s to $57 million this year. This represents a 75 percent cut and an all-time low for the program.
The Coalition recently unveiled its blueprint for a statewide Growing Greener III program, detailing the need for more than $315 million in annual investments to protect Pennsylvania’s water, land, forests and other natural resources, stimulate economic growth in our communities and improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.
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.
Since its inception, the state’s Growing Greener program has enjoyed widespread, bipartisan public support. A 2015 Penn State poll found that 90.7 percent of Pennsylvanians surveyed would support increasing state funds to conserve and protect open space, clean water, natural areas, wildlife habitats, parks, historic sites, forests, and farms.
The Growing Greener III plan proposed by the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition has been endorsed by more than 170 conservation, preservation and recreation organizations, as well as several businesses and local governments, representing hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians. For a copy of the plan and full list of supporters visit www.growinggreener3.com.