Thursday, May 10, 2018

Senators Yaw, Yudichak, Rep. Everett To Introduce Bills Creating Keystone Tree Fund Checkoff

Legislators from both parties are circulating co-sponsor memos urging their colleagues to sponsor legislation creating the Keystone Tree Fund checkoff.
Senators Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) and John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Majority and Minority Chairs of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, and Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming), one of Pennsylvania’s representatives on the interstate Chesapeake Bay Commission, are asking for support for the proposal.
The legislation would add "Keystone Tree Fund" as a voluntary checkoff box to the Department of Transportation's driver's license application (original and renewal) and the vehicle registration renewal application. This checkoff box would allow applicants to voluntarily donate $3 to the fund.
The Senators said in their invitation, “The water that every Pennsylvanian relies on for daily living and recreational activities is in need of our attention. Despite its abundance, or maybe because we have taken that abundance for granted, almost one-quarter of Pennsylvania's 86,000 miles of rivers and streams are classified as "impaired" under the Federal Clean Water Act, meaning they are not safe for drinking, fishing, swimming or a combination of uses. Pennsylvania's list of impaired waters is twice as long as the state in second place - Michigan.”
Rep. Everett said, “To repair the waters and meet our constitutional obligation as trustee of the Pennsylvania’s natural resources we will need a comprehensive statewide strategy that involves farms, towns and the general public, but one important step is to plant more trees. Along streams, trees help to filter out pollutants running off the land. In urban areas, trees help to soak up storm water, reducing flooding and erosion.”
Funding collected through the new checkoff would be earmarked for the Tree Vitalize and Riparian Forest Buffer Grant Program.
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