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PA Senate Co-Sponsorship Memo — Growing Greener Modernization

Co-sponsorship Memo — Growing Greener Modernization

FYI – see highlight below – “revenue enhancements in other legislation to be introduced”

Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 – 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 5, 2018 03:02 PM
From: Senator Thomas H. Killion
To: All Senate members
Subject: Growing Greener Modernization

 

In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that establishes the framework for expanding and reinvesting in Pennsylvania’s wildly successful Growing Greener program to protect Pennsylvania’s water, land and other natural resources; stimulate economic growth in our communities and improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.

This legislation will provide the necessary authority for administrative agencies to fund grant programs and projects in support of cost-efficient green infrastructure and nature-based solutions to reduce flooding while protecting and improving water quality across Pennsylvania. In addition to anticipating revenue enhancements in other legislation to be introduced this session, this legislation redirects environmental stewardship funds presently diverted into debt service (approximately $20 million annually) on bonds authorized early in the Rendell Administration into supporting local water projects.

Since its inception 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.

Funding for the program has decreased from an estimated average of $200 million in the mid-2000s to $57 million last year, a 75 percent reduction. The goal is to improve and expand the impact of the Growing Greener program into for the 21st century with dedicated funding committed for years to come.

Flooding and water pollution are two of the most significant problems facing Pennsylvania. Addressing them is a top priority because they:

·         Take a massive economic and environmental toll on Pennsylvania.

·         Flooding damages property, infrastructure, and landscapes; water pollution destroys wildlife and limits opportunities for outdoor recreation.

·         Put people in danger.

·         Every year, floods and polluted water pose major threats to public health.

·         Affect nearly all communities.

·         Flooding and water pollution impact communities across Pennsylvania—rural and urban, large and small, rich and poor.

·         Will only get worse.

·         As more open space is replaced by impermeable surfaces and extreme storms become more common, flooding and water pollution will become even bigger problems.

·         Can be addressed effectively. Proven, cost-effective strategies to reduce flooding and water pollution already exist—there is no need to wait for new technology or further study (as is the case with some other challenges).

Investing in our natural resources strengthens our local, regional and state economies and supports thousands upon thousands of jobs, including those associated with two of Pennsylvania’s top industries, agriculture and tourism.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

 

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