For Immediate Release: June 10, 2011
State Faces Dangerous Scenario; Environmental Stewardship Funds Urgently Needed
Impassioned Testimony Offered at House Democratic Policy Hearing
(Philadelphia, PA) – Today, Renew Growing Greener Coalition Executive Director Andrew Heath provided testimony at the House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund. The following are excerpts from Heath’s remarks:
“When Governor Ridge first signed Growing Greener into law in 1999, we all thought that it was a program with potential, but none of us could have imagined the impact this essential initiative has had over the past 12 years. In 2005, Governor Rendell expanded this program by creating Growing Greener II, a bond initiative that infused an additional $625 million worth of investments over five years.
“As you know, the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund is a statewide program that provides funds to communities and non-profit organizations to help restore and protect local watersheds, clean up abandoned mines, preserve and acquire farmlands and open spaces, and lessen non point source pollution from entering waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. Growing Greener also provides funds for maintaining our award-winning state park system, for heritage conservation and for the development of multipurpose trails, greenways and parks in our communities.
“The Environmental Stewardship Fund if the lifeblood of Growing Greener. Without money in that fund, we cannot continue to support local watershed groups and conservation efforts.
“This is a dangerous scenario, especially at a time when Pennsylvania is about to embark on the largest natural gas drilling boom in our state’s history.
“Rep. Quinn (R-Bucks) has introduced House Bill 1700, legislation that calls for a graduated impact fee that would provide funding for local governments, the state’s infrastructure and also provide a significant portions for Growing Greener through the Environmental Stewardship Fund. Rep. Quinn’s bill is the first impact fee to come from the House and appears to be a simpler approach to addressing the impact the natural gas industry on local communities and our natural resources.
“Additionally, Rep. Quinn’s approach appears to establish an impact fee based on well production, which we believe is a plan the Governor can support while keeping his promise not to raise taxes.
“It is imperative that we all work together to ensure that this fiscal year is not the last for Growing Greener.”
For a complete copy of Heath’s remarks, visit the Coalition website at www.RenewGrowinGreener.org.
About the Renew Growing Greener Coalition
The Renew Growing Greener Coalition is the Commonwealth’s largest coalition of conservation, recreation and environmental organizations representing nearly 300 organizations and government entities. For more information on the Coalition, visit www.RenewGrowingGreener.org.