Press Release May 24, 2017

Pennsylvania Bill Would Fund Critical Conservation Programs that Support State’s National Parks

Investment in the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund will support environmental programs that benefit Pennsylvania’s national park sites

HARRISBURG, PA – Legislation was reintroduced today in the Pennsylvania State Senate that would provide much-needed investments in conservation, recreation and historic preservation efforts. These programs would benefit national park landscapes throughout the state.

S.B. 705 was introduced by State Senator Tom Killion (R-09) and co-sponsored by Senators Rich Alloway (R-33) and Chuck McIlhinney (R-10) along with a bipartisan group of 27 other senators. This legislation establishes a framework for investing $315 million in renewed and increased annual funding to the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund, which supports environmental conservation, recreation and historic preservation projects across Pennsylvania. Historically, Growing Greener grants have supported critical investments in the landscapes and watersheds that surround Pennsylvania’s 19 national park sites including:

  • Enabling Montgomery County to acquire and preserve land adjacent to Valley Forge National Historical Park,
  • Establishing the Equinunk Watershed Alliance to preserve the environment, history, culture, and economic viability of the Equinunk watershed which drains into the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River, and
  • Supporting open space preservation adjacent to Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and greenway corridor plans in Monroe County along the Middle Delaware National Scenic River to preserve green space adjacent to these parks.

Over the last decade, funding for Growing Greener has decreased by 75 percent, leaving the program struggling for adequate funding to protect and restore Pennsylvania’s air and water quality, preserve historic places and promote outdoor recreation. This legislation would ensure the program is sufficiently funded by leveraging numerous privately and publically funded projects working to address the roughly 19,000 miles of impaired waterways in Pennsylvania.

“For many years, critical conservation investments in Pennsylvania have been the target of irresponsible cuts that threaten the health of our state’s national parks and the prosperity of the communities that surround them,” said Amanda John, Pennsylvania and Delaware Program Manager with National Parks Conservation Association. “State conservation funding is critical to the continued health of Pennsylvania’s waterways like the historic Delaware River, national park sites like the Captain John Smith National Historic Water Trail on the Susquehanna River, and local economies in gateway communities like Gettysburg. We applaud Senators Killion, Alloway and McIllhinney for introducing this important bill, and we urge their colleagues in the State Senate to act quickly to pass this legislation and fully fund the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund during this budget cycle.”

“Valley Forge Trout Unlimited and Valley Creek have benefitted greatly from the Growing Greener program,” said Chuck Marshall, founding member of the Valley Forge Chapter of Trout Unlimited. “Growing Greener grants have allowed us to take on projects in and around Valley Forge National Historical Park that have helped reduce flooding in Valley Creek and protected George Washington’s Headquarters and other important Revolutionary War artifacts. We are pleased to see the State Senate move to ensure that these important conservation programs will receive the funding they need.”

“We support this bipartisan legislation because it highlights Pennsylvania’s clear commitment to returning clean water to the Susquehanna River and the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said Chanté Coleman, director of the Choose Clean Water Coalition. “If passed and fully funded, this legislation would provide the resources necessary to implement on the ground community restoration projects, help farmers reduce runoff in a cost-effective way, and would support Pennsylvania in its effort to meet its water quality goals.”

Together, conservation, historic preservation, recreation and national park advocates are calling on Pennsylvania’s elected officials to develop sustainable revenue sources to fund the Growing Greener Environmental Stewardship Fund. Companion legislation in the State House of Representatives has already garnered 31 co-sponsors and is expected to be introduced later this month.

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About National Parks Conservation Association Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.2 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.