The Renew Growing Greener Coalition today commended Rep. Marguerite Quinn (R-Bucks) for putting forth a local impact fee proposal that includes funding for the state’s Growing Greener program.
Coalition Executive Director Andrew Heath issued the following statement:
“The Renew Growing Greener Coalition is encouraged by the proposal put forth by Rep. Quinn that would provide dedicated funding for the state’s Growing Greener program through the Environmental Stewardship Fund by establishing a local impact fee on natural gas drillers.
“Rep. Quinn’s impact fee is the first to come from the House and appears to be a simpler approach to addressing the impact of 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 construction, which we believe is a plan the Governor can support while keeping his promise not to raise taxes.
“The Coalition looks forward to learning the full details of the plan. We are hopeful that other legislators will recognize the potential of Rep. Quinn’s proposal and join her in sponsoring the legislation to keep this important process moving forward – and in protecting our environment, promoting conservation and enhancing recreation for future generations.”
Growing Greener is a bipartisan program established in 1999 under Gov. Tom Ridge and later expanded by Governors Schweiker and Rendell. Since its establishment, Growing Greener has created a legacy of success, preserving more than 33,700 acres of Pennsylvania’s family farmland, conserving more than 42,300 acres of threatened open space, adding 26,000 acres to state parks and forests, and restoring over 16,000 acres of abandoned mine lands.
In 2002, a dedicated source of revenue for Growing Greener was identified in an increase in the state’s “tipping fee,” the fee charged for dumping trash in Pennsylvania’s landfills. Those funds were supplemented by a $625 million bond approved by voters in 2005, called Growing Greener II. Unless action is taken, those funds will be largely exhausted as of June 30th, with most of the Growing Greener I tipping fees going to the debt service on the Growing Greener II bonds.
More than 80 Pennsylvania municipalities and counties have passed resolutions urging the Governor and legislature to renew Growing Greener funding. Counties passing resolutions include: Blair, Cambria, Erie, Fayette, Greene, Indiana Lackawanna, Lawrence, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Philadelphia, Pike, Somerset, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Washington, Westmoreland, Wyoming and York.
The Renew Growing Greener Coalition is the Commonwealth’s largest coalition of conservation, recreation and environmental organizations representing nearly 300 organizations and government entities.