Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Growing Greener Coalition: Action Needed On Bipartisan Growing Greener III Proposals To Address Critical Water Quality, Recreation, Green Infrastructure Needs

On February 15, the
Growing Greener Coalition released an open letter to members of the General Assembly and Gov. Wolf pointing to the need to act on bipartisan Growing Greener III initiatives to address water, recreation and green infrastructure needs.

The text of the open letter follows--

The partner organizations of the Growing Greener Coalition on behalf of our hundreds of thousands of supporters and hundreds of allied organizations across the Commonwealth commend Governor Wolf for his call to inject $450 million into a Growing Greener III using funding provided to the state by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 

This dovetails with Republican initiatives in both the PA Senate and House.

Senator Gordner’s SB 525 invests $500 million of ARPA funds into a Growing Greener III. The bill, which enjoys sponsorship by a bipartisan majority of senators (13 Republicans and 14 Democrats), has received second consideration by the chamber.  [Read more here.]

Representatives Schlegel Culver and Quinn introduced a House version as HB 2020. 

We commend Senator Gordner and the representatives for their leadership in moving these bills.

Complementing these bills is the creation of a Clean Streams Fund and Agriculture Conservation Assistance Program as provided in Senator Yaw’s SB 832 (which has also received second consideration) and Representative Hershey’s House version, HB 1901.

We thank the senator and representatives for their leadership on these initiatives to improve water quality.

These proposals will judiciously invest in capital projects that can be implemented now and deliver huge returns on the investment for decades to come. 

From nature-based solutions that prevent flooding and stream degradation (including installation of riparian forest buffers, passive AMD [acid mine drainage] treatment, and wetland restoration) to rehabilitation of state and local parks and trails and protection of wildlife habitat that underpin a large part of the Commonwealth’s tourism and outdoor recreation economies, ARPA dollars can make a tremendous difference in the lives of Pennsylvanians.

Our various natural infrastructure needs are immense but the economic payoff in addressing them is huge. 

ARPA dollars applied to natural infrastructure would support myriad small businesses and good-paying jobs. 

Projects involve surveyors, appraisers, legal services, engineers, planners, drafters, environmental remediators, hydrologists, geologists, agricultural consultants, horticulturalists, architects, landscape architects, landscapers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, heavy equipment operators, painters, roofing contractors, fencing installers, paving contractors, material delivery, sign makers, archaeologists, and arborists. Supplies and equipment are needed from nurseries, lumber yards, quarries, building material suppliers, hardware stores, equipment manufacturers, and equipment rental businesses.

Investing in Pennsylvania’s environment makes strong fiscal sense. 

It is well established that state environmental investments provide tremendous rates of return—whether the measure is job creation and economic activity, avoided costs (such as public health and flooding), net tax revenues, or the wellbeing of people and communities. 

(See the numerous studies documenting the benefits in the Economic Benefits section of https://conservationtools.org.)

For more information, please reach out to the people of the Growing Greener Coalition’s partner organizations.

Click Here for a copy of the letter.

For more information, visit the Growing Greener Coalition website.


-- PennLive - Jan Murphy: From Pit Latrines To Poorly Rated Bridges, PA State Parks, Forests Showing Their Age, Officials Say

-- PennLive - Marcus Schneck: Pandemic Brought Unexpected Changes In Outdoor Recreation, Penn State Study Says

Related Articles:

-- Two Bipartisan Bills Just Sitting In Senate Waiting To Address Record Number Of Water Quality Impaired Streams, Recreation Needs

-- Gov. Wolf’s Environmental Budget Builds On Bipartisan Support For $450 Million Conservation Allocation From Federal ARP Funds; Increases DEP Staff To Manage Historic Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Funding

-- DEP Outlines 2022 Priorities: Make Up Deficit In Oil & Gas Funding; Get Resources Needed To Invest New Federal Mine Reclamation, Oil & Gas Well Plugging Funds

-- DCNR Secretary Outlines 2022 Priorities To Conservation & Natural Resources Advisory Council, Including Need For $1.4 Billion In Infrastructure Improvements

-- DCNR Discusses Infrastructure Needs At Gifford Pinchot State Park, All State Parks & Forests 

-- DCNR Blog: Gov. Wolf’s Proposed Budget Supports Conservation And Recreation

-- Gov. Wolf Proposes $450 Million Growing Greener III Initiative Funded By Federal American Rescue Plan; Bipartisan Support Building For Conservation Allocation

-- General Assembly Diverted $3.602 Billion From Environmental Infrastructure Projects And Programs Into State Budget Black Hole

[Posted: February 15, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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