HARRISBURG – The Senate approved legislation today that would create a framework for the Growing Greener III program to better protect Pennsylvania’s natural resources.
The original version of Senate Bill 799, sponsored by Senator Rich Alloway (R-33), creates a new nutrient trading program to help Pennsylvania meet federal pollution reduction goals and improve drinking water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The legislation was amended to add a proposal introduced by Senator Tom Killion (R-9), Senator Chuck McIlhinney (R-10) and Alloway to authorize a new Growing Greener program to support critical environmental and quality of life projects in communities throughout the state.
The original Growing Greener program, which was created in 1999, has funded hundreds of environmental projects, including local parks and trails, open space preservation, farmland preservation, flood mitigation, stream and waterway restoration, watershed protection initiatives, and drinking and wastewater treatment improvements.
“Growing Greener is a critically important program that has a successful track record of preserving Pennsylvania’s natural resources, and Growing Greener III will continue to protect our land and waterways,” Killion said. “This legislation is the first step in renewing our commitment to the environment and enhancing the quality of life for Pennsylvania’s families.”
Funding for the program has declined from approximately $200 million in the mid-2000s to just $57 million last year. Senate Bill 799 would establish a framework to ensure the program will continue to fund vital environmental projects well into the future.
“Few state programs have enjoyed the incredible success of Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener program, but declining funding for the program threatens to halt the incredible progress we have made over the past two decades in terms of protecting our environment,” McIlhinney said. “Passing this bill reaffirms the importance of protecting our drinking water supplies, open space, farmland and trails.”
Senate Bill 799 drew overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle and was approved by a 47-2 margin.
“The success of the Growing Greener program is a result of a strong cooperative effort between lawmakers, state and local government officials, environmental advocates and many other stakeholders who worked together to identify the most pressing needs in our communities,” Alloway said. “Finding a way to continue this program is one of the best ways that we can ensure we pass along a cleaner and healthier Pennsylvania to future generations.”
The bill was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
CONTACT: Jeremy Shoemaker (717)787-4651 (Senator Alloway)
Shannon Royer (717)787-4712 (Senator Killion)
Heather Cevasco (717)787-7305 (Senator McIlhinney)