Using the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to fund the Environmental Stewardship Fund (Growing Greener) is a great fit because:
- The purpose of ARP is to address the economic repercussions the COVID-19 pandemic has had on households, small businesses, nonprofits, and industries such as tourism and hospitality. Environmental Stewardship Fund investments benefit all these groups and communities. Natural infrastructure projects in PA waterways, parks, forests, and open space are the reason why PA’s tourism industry was able to flourish in 2020, despite the COVID emergency.
- ARP funds are intended to support small businesses and communities that have been struggling because of the recent economic fallout. Environmental Stewardship Fund projects generate innumerable jobs and stimulate local economies every year with its investments.
- These are capital investments, not expenditures that have to be repeated (and supported out of the state general fund) after the federal money is gone.
- Tens of millions of dollars in natural infrastructure projects are shovel-ready now and many more can be ready if the money is made available.
- Environmental Stewardship Fund investments support myriad small businesses and good-paying jobs. Projects involve surveyors, appraisers, legal services, engineers, planners, drafters, environmental remediators, hydrologists, geologists, agricultural consultants, nurseries, architects, landscape architects, landscapers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, heavy equipment operators, painters, roofing contractors, fencing installers, paving contractors, material delivery, sign makers, archaeologists, and arborists. Supplies and equipment are needed from nurseries, lumber yards, quarries, building material suppliers, hardware stores, equipment manufacturers, and equipment rental businesses.
- Billions of dollars in water investments are needed on a multitude of fronts to restore 19,000 miles of PA waterways unsafe for drinking, swimming, fishing, and boating.
- Municipalities face huge costs regarding stormwater management; farmers badly need help with designing and implementing conservation practices like forested stream buffers to keep soil and nutrients on the land instead of running into the water.
- Untreated AMD, desolate AML, and uncapped oil and gas wells harm our water and drag down local economies.
- Lack of investment in natural infrastructure to address stormwater management and flood prevention leave many Pennsylvanians highly vulnerable to loss of property and life.