Tuesday, June 29, 2010

DCNR Conservation & Natural Resources Advisory Council Opposes Environmental Fund Transfers

The (DCNR) Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council (CNRAC) opposes any budgetary action that would transfer and/or suspend $132 million from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund; the Environmental Stewardship Fund (Growing Greener); and the Farmland Preservation Program (Agriculture Easement Purchase Fund) from its intended use, and to be used to help balance the state budget.
CNRAC is fully aware and understanding of the economic condition of the Commonwealth presently. As state leadership grapples with ways to address budgetary shortfalls, proposals have been frequently made to promote assistance with revenue generation. However, in our opinion, too much of the budgetary burden has fallen recently on environmental and conservation programs designed to serve the public, re-directing funds to provide financial assistance to the General Fund, rather than for their intended purpose. This practice needs to stop.
Our leaders need to understand the wisdom in the original creation of these funds and the powerful results generated from their use for resource protection and recreational provision, and to ensure that these funds are retained and used as they were originally intended.
These publicly-supported funds improve our quality of life in communities in which we live and work. Projects funded through these grant programs protect our citizens by supporting and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. They attract industry, and help keep young people here.
When leveraged with federal, other state, foundation and local dollars, these funds provide huge economic and health dividends, all of which can be documented and should not be dismissed in times of economic recession. These grants and financial assistance programs lead to community recovery and sustainability. We need these local job-creating and community-enhancing programs now more than ever.
In recent years we have seen transfers of conservation funds intended for DCNR, but used for other purposes.
Keystone funds, and Oil and Gas Lease funds have been re-directed to offset budget deficits in the past. We have acknowledged the “one-time only” need to conduct these transferences when they occurred. However, those short-term times have come and gone. We believe it is time for our leaders to prevent further environmental and conservation funding cuts, and to protect Pennsylvania’s resources through their support of the maintenance of these funds.
We thank you for your fullest consideration and prompt attention to these concerns.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner