Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Joint Conservation Committee: Heritage Areas Generate $2 Billion For PA’s Economy

Jane Sheffield, President of Heritage PA, told the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee Monday Pennsylvania’s 12 Heritage Areas generate $2 billion to the state’s economy, according to a recent study by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.
Sheffield outlined the history of the PA Heritage Area Program to House and Senate members and others attending the Joint Committee’s Environmental Issues Forum.
She said the data showed tourists spent an estimated 7.5 million days/nights in the 12 heritage areas in 2014, and spent $2 billion in goods and services. To the state economy, she said, that spending meant 25,708 jobs and $798 million in labor income.
Sheffield said Gov. Wolf line-item vetoed  the $2.25 million allocated for the program for FY 2015-16 and did not propose any funding for the program in FY 2016-17.  She warned if new revenue is not found in FY 2016-17, the program will begin to erode and may cease to operate as private and federal funds leveraged by state funding will evaporate.
Rep. Lee James (R-Venango) note legislation he introduced-- House Bill 1605 (James-R-Venango)-- would establish the program in law, and is now on the House Calendar for possible action.
A copy of Sheffield’s testimony is available online.
E-Waste Hearing
The Joint Conservation Committee has scheduled a hearing on the collapse of the electronics recycling program in Pennsylvania for March 21 starting at 9:00 a.m. in Room 8E-A of the East Wing Capitol Building in Harrisburg.
Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) serves as Chair of the Joint Committee.  To sign up for regular updates from the Committee, send an email to: mnerozzi@jcc.legis.state.pa.us.

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