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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: May 17, 2017 10:02 AM
From: Representative Harold A. English and Rep. Mike Carroll , Rep. Alexander T. Charlton, Rep. Robert Freeman, Rep. Christopher B. Quinn
To: All House members
Subject: Growing Greener III Program
 
In the near future, we plan to introduce legislation that establishes the framework for a Growing Greener III program to protect Pennsylvania’s water, land, forests and other natural resources, stimulate economic growth in our communities, and improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.

This legislation is essentially the enabling legislation for a Growing Greener III program. It would provide the necessary authority for administrative agencies to fund the various projects and program needs identified by the Growing Greener III Coalition and its member organizations.

This legislation represents the first step in the process – identifying the need and establishing the commitment to invest $315 million annually to support these critical environmental and quality of life projects. For the next step, we must work together to identify the necessary investments and revenues needed to fund the program in the future.

It is our hope that you will join us in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Since its inception in 1999, the state’s Growing Greener program has funded hundreds of local parks and trail projects, conserved more than 80,000 acres of threatened open space, and restored hundreds of miles of streams and waterways. The program has also protected more than 78,000 acres of farmland, restored more than 1,600 acres of abandoned mine land, and helped reduce flooding and water pollution through 400 watershed protection projects and more than 100 drinking and wastewater treatment improvements.

Funding for the program has decreased from an estimated average of $200 million in the mid-2000s to $57 million last year, a 75 percent reduction. Our goal is to establish a Growing Greener III framework that the Governor and Legislature can embrace to renew this critical program and ensure its continued vitality long into the future.

Investing in our natural resources strengthens our local, regional and state economics and supports thousands upon thousands of jobs, including those associated with two of Pennsylvania’s top industries, agriculture and tourism:
  • 1 in 7 Pennsylvania jobs are related to agriculture;
  • Recreation accounts for $6.4 billion of tourism spending;
  • For every $1 invested in our State Parks, $12 is generated in economic benefits for the surrounding community; and
  • Every 10 percent increase in tree cover reduces water treatment costs by 20 percent.
This legislation will go a long way to help us protect Pennsylvania’s water, land and other natural resources while maintaining our commitment to future generations. Please join us in supporting this important legislation.



Introduced as HB2485