Monday, May 23, 2022

Tell Your Legislator NOW To Set Aside $500 Million From Federal American Rescue Funds To Support Local Environmental, State Park & Forest Projects

The time is NOW to start contacting your state House and Senate members to tell them to set aside at least $500 million from federal American Rescue Fund monies the state already has to support watershed restoration, farm conservation, mine reclamation, protection from flooding, recreation, State Park and Forest safety and maintenance projects.

June is when all the decisions get made about the state budget.  This year is special because $1.7 billion in federal American Rescue Fund monies have yet to be allocated for any purpose.

In addition, state government finds itself in the position of collecting record state revenues as a result of an expanding economy.  Read more here.

There has never been a better time to invest in Pennsylvania’s environment, without going into debt.

The Growing Greener Coalition, PA Parks and Forests Foundation and many other groups are supporting efforts to allocate a significant portion of these funds-- $500 million or more would be best-- to support local environmental restoration, recreation and State Park and Forest projects.

These funds will not only work to support local jobs and businesses, but permanently improve Pennsylvania’s environment and recreational opportunities that are critical to the economic and physical wellbeing of Pennsylvanians.

Click Here to find your legislators.

What To Support

There is language in bipartisan legislation that would allocate $500 million from American Rescue Fund monies for these purposes and set up a special cost-share program for farm conservation installation--

-- $500 Million For Growing Greener Projects:  Senators John Gordner (R-Columbia), Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery), Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester) and others have introduced bipartisan legislation proposing to allocate $500 million from the federal American Rescue Plan to fund Growing Greener watershed, farm conservation, mine reclamation, recreation projects, State Park and Forest safety and maintenance projects in Senate Bill 525Read more here.

Companion legislation-- House Bill 2020-- is pending in the House sponsored by Reps. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-Northumberland), Nancy Guenst (D-Montgomery) and many others. 

-- Farm Conservation Cost-Share: Senate Bill 465 (Yaw-R-Lycoming, Comitta-D-Chester), another bipartisan bill, establishes a new program to pay for on-farm conservation measures administered by the State Conservation Commission. Read more here.

More Background

Visit the Growing Greener Coalition and PA Parks and Forests Foundation websites for more information on this critical budget issue.

Below are just a few of the recent articles from PA Environment Digest on the need for funding. 

Check Your Own Streams

If you still question the need for making these investments, check DEP’s 2022 Water Quality Report.

You can zoom in on your own neighborhood to check the water quality in streams near you-- remember RED is bad, and there’s a lot of RED.

In fact, one-third of Pennsylvania’s streams-- 27,886 miles-- still don’t meet water quality standards.  Read more here.

We have an historic opportunity to really make a difference in Pennsylvania’s environment-- but only if you ACT NOW!

Click Here to find your legislators.

Related Articles:

-- New Poll Shows 90% Of PA Voters Want Senate, House Members To Address Environmental, Conservation Priorities, Provide More Funding For Critical Programs

-- Two-Thirds Of Pennsylvanians Support Increased Funding For PA State Parks, Forests

-- New Poll: 86% Say Parks, Trails, Outdoors Are Essential To Their Physical, Mental Health During Pandemic; State Parks Saw 26.6% Increase In Visitors

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

-- Guest Essay: Funding Crucial For The Future Of Clean Water In Pennsylvania

-- Guest Essay: PA Farmers, Communities And Chesapeake Bay Will Benefit From Significant Investment Of Federal American Rescue Plan Funding In Cleaning Up Our Waterways

-- WeConservePA Urges General Assembly, Gov. Wolf To Boost Conservation Investments - There Has Never Been A Better Time

-- DCNR: Never Been A Better Time To Invest In State Park, Forest Infrastructure Improvements, Local Conservation Projects

-- DCNR Highlights How Allocation Of Federal American Rescue Funds Could Help With Urgent Infrastructure Repair Needs At State Parks, Forests

[Posted: May 23, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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