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PRINTER'S NO. 919
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
525
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY GORDNER, MENSCH, ARGALL, HUGHES, VOGEL, YUDICHAK,
SCAVELLO, BAKER, STEFANO, J. WARD AND SANTARSIERO,
JUNE 17, 2021
REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY, JUNE 17, 2021
AN ACT
Amending Title 27 (Environmental Resources) of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes, in environmental stewardship and
watershed protection, further providing for legislative
findings, for fund and for agencies.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the
Growing Greener III Act.
Section 2. Sections 6102, 6104(b) and (d) and 6105 of Title
27 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes are amended to
read:
§ 6102. Legislative findings.
The General Assembly hereby determines, declares and finds as
follows:
[(1) Ninety-six percent of the water-quality-impaired
watersheds in this Commonwealth are polluted because of
nonpoint sources of pollution such as past mining activities,
urban and agricultural runoff, atmospheric deposition, on-lot
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sewage systems and earthmoving.
(2) The Commonwealth continues to have unmet needs in
the area of water and sewer infrastructure. New and improved
water sources, treatment and distribution systems are
necessary for public drinking water supplies.
(3) The Commonwealth owns approximately 2.4 million
acres of State park and State forest lands and many of these
lands suffer from past environmental problems, including
unreclaimed mines, acid mine drainage and abandoned oil and
gas wells.
(4) Open space, greenways, recreational trails, river
corridors, fish and wildlife habitats, parks and recreation
areas and scenic environments protect the environment,
conserve natural resources and add value to communities.
(5) State programs and State funding should provide
maximum flexibility for elected county and municipal
governmental officials to identify, prioritize and address
local environmental concerns, including odor abatement
problems at sewage treatment plants.]
(1) As stated in section 27 of Article I of the
Constitution of Pennsylvania:
The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to
the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and
esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public
natural resources are the common property of all the
people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of
these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and
maintain them for the benefit of all the people.
(2) The Commonwealth has an obligation to provide
greater investments to conserve land and water resources,
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restore damaged waterways and land, and create prosperous and
sustainable communities.
(3) Clean water is vital:
(i) to the continued economic growth of this
Commonwealth;
(ii) to support tourism, agriculture, industry,
power generation and recreation;
(iii) for drinking water supplies; and
(iv) to protect public health and aquatic life.
(4) This Commonwealth continues to have water and sewer
infrastructure needs. New and improved water sources,
treatment and distribution systems are necessary for public
drinking water supplies.
(5) As noted in the Commonwealth's award-winning 2014-
2019 Pennsylvania Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation
Plan, our 5,600 local parks and recreation areas are the most
frequently visited recreational asset in this Commonwealth,
but most need additional funding to address aging
infrastructure, deferred maintenance and limited capacity to
carry out programs and services.
(6) The Commonwealth owns approximately 2.5 million
acres of State park and State forest lands. Our State park
system has estimated that many of these parks have
environmental projects and infrastructure and deferred
maintenance needs, such as dams, roads, bridges, water and
wastewater treatment facilities, buildings and boat launches.
(7) Conservation of public and private forest lands is a
cost-effective method for protecting water quality. Forest
lands function as a reserve of clean water for this
Commonwealth, including municipalities that rely on public
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water supplies drawn from water resources on public and
private forested properties. Forest lands act as groundwater
recharge areas, protect surface water quality, reduce soil
erosion, enhance fish and wildlife habitats and provide
opportunities for fishing, boating, hunting and trapping.
(8) Abandoned mines remain across 189,000 acres in 43
counties and cause issues in the streams into which they
discharge.
(9) More than 2,000 working farms remain on county
waiting lists to be preserved for continued agricultural use.
(10) Open space, greenways, recreational trails, river
corridors, fish and wildlife habitats, parks and recreation
areas and scenic environments protect the environment,
conserve natural resources and add quality-of-life value that
attracts jobs, is essential to Pennsylvania outdoor
recreation and tourism industries and improves public health.
(11) State programs and State funding should provide
opportunity and flexibility for elected county and municipal
government officials and authorized organizations to
identify, prioritize and address local environmental
concerns.
§ 6104. Fund.
* * *
(b) Sources.--
(1) Money appropriated by the General Assembly, interest
earned by the fund, penalties, money received from the
Federal Government or other sources and money received from
the fee established under section 6112(b) (relating to
extension of fees) shall be deposited in the fund. Moneys
appropriated by the General Assembly to the fund shall be
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transferred on a quarterly basis in increments of at least
20%.
(2) For fiscal years 1999-2000 through 2003-2004, the
fund may receive money, upon approval of the Governor, from
the Recycling Fund and the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund. The
combined total of appropriations from these two funds for the
program shall not exceed $30,000,000 annually.
(3) It is the intent of the General Assembly that
$100,000,000 per fiscal year be appropriated from the General
Fund for fiscal years 2000-2001 through 2003-2004 to the
fund. The Governor's annual budget submission for fiscal
years 2000-2001 through 2003-2004 shall include the sum of
$100,000,000 per fiscal year for allocation in accordance
with this section.
(4) For fiscal year 2021-2022, the fund shall be
appropriated $500,000,000 from money received by the
Commonwealth from the Federal Government under the American
Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Public Law 117-2, 135 Stat. 4).
* * *
(d) Allocation.--The money appropriated in subsection (c)
shall be allocated annually as follows:
(1) For fiscal year 1999-2000, 28.4% to the Department
of Conservation and Natural Resources, 43.7% to the
Department of Environmental Protection and 27.9% to the
authority.
(2) For fiscal years 2000-2001 through 2003-2004, 24.1%
to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,
37.4% to the Department of Environmental Protection, 14.8% to
the Department of Agriculture and 23.7% to the authority.
(3) For fiscal year 2004-2005, moneys in the fund shall
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be allocated in accordance with paragraph (1).
(4) For fiscal year 2005-2006, up to $20,000,000 of the
moneys in the fund shall be deposited into the Hazardous
Sites Cleanup Fund and the remaining moneys shall be
allocated in accordance with paragraph (2).
(5) For fiscal year 2006-2007, up to $30,000,000 of the
moneys in the fund shall be deposited into the Hazardous
Sites Cleanup Fund and the remaining moneys shall be
allocated in accordance with paragraph (2).
(6) For fiscal [year 2007-2008 and each year
thereafter,] years 2017-2018 through 2020-2021, moneys in the
fund shall be allocated in accordance with paragraph (2).
(7) For fiscal year 2021-2022 and each year thereafter,
moneys in the fund shall be allocated as follows:
(i) Forty-five percent to the Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources, which shall use the
allocation as follows:
(A) Twenty percent for grants for projects of
which the recipient is a county or other
municipality, council of governments, conservation
district or authorized organization.
(B) Five percent for land trust projects.
(c) Twenty percent for projects and programs
located within the watershed of the Susquehanna River
and its tributaries.
(ii) Forty percent to the Department of
Environmental Protection, whic h shall use at least 40% of
its funds for projects and programs within the watershed
of the Susquehanna River and its tributaries.
(iii) Fifteen percent to the Department of
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Agriculture, which shall use the allocation as follows:
(A) At least 30% for grants to authorized
organizations to preserve farmland.
(B) At least 50% for projects and programs
located within the watershed of the Susquehanna River
and its tributaries.
* * *
§ 6105. Agencies.
(a) The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.--
(1) The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
shall utilize money it receives from the fund for the
following purposes:
(i) To rehabilitate, repair and develop State park
and State forest lands and facilities and the acquisition
of [interior] lands [within] for State parks and State
forests.
(ii) To provide grants to a county or other
municipality, council of governments, conservation
districts and authorized organizations for the purpose of
planning, education, acquisition, development,
rehabilitation and repair of greenways, recreational
trails, including connections between trails, open space,
natural areas, river corridors and access to riverfronts,
watersheds, community [and heritage] parks and recreation
facilities; community conservation and beautification
projects; forest conservation[;], including conservation
of forested riparian buffers; heritage areas and other
conservation and recreation purposes. Grants under this
paragraph may not be used by an authorized organization
for land acquisition unless the authorized organization
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obtains the approval of all counties in which the land is
situated. Grant moneys may also be used for the
acquisition of farmland for the purposes set forth in
this paragraph.
(iii) To provide grants to a county or other
municipality and authorized organizations for the purpose
of research, planning, inventories and technical
assistance intended to protect and conserve the
biological diversity of this Commonwealth.
(2) The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
may require matching funds as a condition of the award of a
grant under this subsection.
(b) The Department of Environmental Protection.--
(1) The Department of Environmental Protection shall
utilize money it receives from the fund for the following
purposes:
(i) To implement acid mine drainage abatement and
cleanup efforts and abandoned mine land cleanup efforts
and plug abandoned and orphan oil and gas wells.
(ii) To provide funding for technical assistance and
financial incentives to facilitate remining.
(iii) To provide grants to a county or other
municipality, council of governments, county conservation
districts, watershed organizations and other authorized
organizations for acid mine drainage abatement and
cleanup, mine and mine land cleanup efforts and well
plugging.
(iv) To provide grants and technical assistance to a
county or other municipality, council of governments,
county conservation districts, watershed organizations
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and other authorized organizations to plan and implement
local watershed-based conservation efforts.
(v) To improve water-quality-impaired watersheds,
including those polluted by past mining activities,
agricultural and urban runoff, atmospheric deposition,
on-lot sewage systems and earthmoving activities.
(vii) For watershed protection.
(viii) For the reduction of nonpoint source
pollution and protection of local drinking water supplies
through grants to watershed organizations and other
authorized organizations, the creation of forested and
other vegetative stream buffers and watershed restoration
efforts, including reducing runoff from agriculture,
construction, waste disposal and abandoned mine and mine
land sites.
(ix) For grants to characterize, remediate or
eliminate environmental hazards at abandoned industrial
properties or brownfields and to promote economic
development by facilitating the return of these
properties to productive use.
(x) For nonstructural floodplain management and
mitigation measures to minimize flood damage, reclaim and
restore the quality of floodplains, remove obstacles and
improve the natural functions of stream channels.
(xi) For grants to municipalities and municipal
authorities to design and build projects and implement
best management practices, with an emphasis on green
infrastructure, in order to implement Municipal Separate
Storm Sewer System (MS4) plans or that count toward the
reductions identified in the Pennsylvania Integrated
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Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report, implement
Total Maximum Daily Load Plans or the Chesapeake Bay
Total Maximum Daily Load requirements.
(xii) For funding to participating county
conservation districts to assist the owners of farms and
other properties in protecting local water quality and
improving the soil, water and air through the
installation and maintenance of best maintenance
practices.
(xiii) For grant purposes enumerated in section
902(a) of the act of October 18, 1988 (P.L.756, No.108),
known as the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act, not to exceed
more than 10% of the funds distributed under section
6104(d)(7)(ii).
(2) County conservation districts may further distribute
grants received under this section to watershed organizations
and other authorized organizations to assist in the
implementation of this chapter.
(3) The Department of Environmental Protection may
require matching funds as a condition of the award of a grant
under this subsection.
(4) For the period commencing with the effective date of
this chapter and ending June 30, 2004, the Department of
Environmental Protection may utilize up to 10% of the money
allocated annually to it under section 6104(d) (relating to
fund) to provide grants for safe drinking water projects and
wastewater treatment projects. Grants under this paragraph
shall be made for the same purposes and shall be subject to
the same limitations as grants authorized in former section
6110 (relating to environmental infrastructure grants to
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water and wastewater treatment facilities).
(c) Department of Agriculture.--Funds allocated to the
Department of Agriculture under this chapter shall be [deposited
in the] used for the following purposes:
(1) For counties to preserve farmland through the
Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Fund [and are]
subject to the provisions of the act of June 30, 1981
(P.L.128, No.43), known as the Agricultural Area Security
Law.
(2) For grants to authorized organizations to preserve
farmland through the acquisition of conservation easements
conforming with section 170(h) of the Internal Revenue Code
of 1986 (Public Law 99-514 26 U.S.C. § 170(h)).
(3) For projects and programs under section 6104(d)(7)
(iii)(B).
(d) The authority.--The authority shall utilize money it
receives from the fund to provide financial assistance in the
form of grants and matching grants for storm water, water and
sewer infrastructure projects, including construction or
rehabilitation of collection and conveyance systems. The
authority shall develop criteria to be used to award grants
under this subsection. The criteria and proposed changes thereto
shall be submitted to the Environmental Resources and Energy
Committee of the Senate and the Environmental Resources and
Energy Committee of the House of Representatives for review and
comment. The committees shall have 60 days to submit comments to
the authority. Criteria shall be reviewed by the authority and
the committees at least once every three years.
(e) Administrative expense limitation.--The departments,
commissions and the authority may not expend more than 2.5% of
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the moneys received from the fund on administrative expenses.
The Department of Environmental Protection may not expend more
than an aggregate of 2.5% of the moneys received from the fund
and the moneys directed to the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund
pursuant to section 6104(d)(4) and (5) on administrative
expenses. Grant recipients that receive moneys from the fund for
the purposes set forth in this section may not expend more than
5% of the moneys received from the fund on administrative
expenses.
(f) Expenditure limitation.--No moneys made available
through the fund shall be used for any purpose which, directly
or indirectly, precludes access to or use of any forested land
for the practice of sustainable forestry and commercial
production of timber or other forest products. This subsection
shall not apply to funds used [by the Department of Conservation
and Natural Resources, counties or municipalities] for the
purchase or improvement of park land to be used for public
recreation.
(g) Regulations.--The departments, the commissions and the
authority may promulgate regulations necessary to carry out the
purposes of this chapter.
Section 3. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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