The PA Growing Greener Coalition, the largest coalition of conservation, recreation and preservation organizations in the Commonwealth, Sunday praised the Corbett Administration and the House and Senate for including critical conservation programs in the 2013-2014 state budget.
Specifically, the general fund budget includes $2.25 million for the state’s Heritage Areas Program and $3.3 million in restored funding for conservation districts, which is in addition to the $5 million the districts will receive from the Act 13 Impact Fee. The budget also includes increased support for the Department of Environmental Protection.
“The Growing Greener Coalition applauds Gov. Corbett and members of the General Assembly for showing strong support for critical protection of land, water and heritage conservation programs that are essential to the health of the state’s economy and quality of life for Pennsylvania residents,” said Andrew Heath, executive director of the Growing Greener Coalition. “The Coalition thanks the leaders of the House and Senate for restoring funding to the Heritage Areas Program, a program that had been zeroed out for many years. We cannot emphasize enough that this restoration is a victory for Pennsylvania’s communities and the special places throughout the state that attract hundreds of tourists each year.”
Heritage areas create jobs and bring businesses to the region, which generates hundreds of millions of dollars of added value in personal income, profits, community revitalization and government taxes. For every $1 of state funding received, Pennsylvania Heritage Areas leveraged an average of $5 of federal, local and private investment.“Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas Program has successfully conserved and enhanced the state’s natural and recreational resources and promoted tourism development for nearly 25 years,” said Jane Sheffield, executive director of the Allegheny Ridge Heritage Area. “Legislators were right to support this important program which creates jobs and bring businesses to the region, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in added revenue to the state."