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8 More Organizations Join Renew Growing Greener Coalition

The Renew Growing Greener Coalition Friday announced eight more organizations have joined in supporting the effort to restore state funding for Growing Greener.
            The Tulpehocken Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Bike Pittsburgh, and the Rail Trail Council of Northeastern PA have signed the Coalition’s Statement of Support, which calls for the establishment of a dedicated and sustainable source of revenue to support the renewal of Growing Greener.
            In addition, Beaver County as well as Lower Merion Township in Montgomery County, Lower Saucon Township in Northampton County, Bucks County Recreation Council and the Centre Regional Recreation Authority all have adopted resolutions in support of the program.
            With these, more than 140 government entities, including 32 counties, representing more than seven million Pennsylvanians, have passed resolutions calling on the Governor and legislature to restore and increase funding for Growing Greener.
            “As our state leaders continue to work on legislation to address natural gas drilling, it is clear that there is widespread support for funding Growing Greener,” said Andrew Heath, executive director of the Renew Growing Greener Coalition.  “We support the provision to dedicate 25 percent of the revenues from the Oil and Gas Lease Fund to Growing Greener and also encourage our lawmakers to ensure that a portion of any impact fee be allocated to help offset the statewide environmental impacts that drilling could have on our water, air and land.”
            Growing Greener is a bipartisan program established in 1999 under Gov. Tom Ridge and later expanded by Governors Schweiker and Rendell.  Since its establishment, Growing Greener has created a legacy of success, preserving more than 107,000 acres of Pennsylvania’s family farmland, conserving more than 42,300 acres of threatened open space, adding 26,000 acres to state parks and forests, and restoring over 16,000 acres of abandoned mine lands.
            Moreover, Growing Greener has contributed and leveraged billions of dollars to the Pennsylvania economy by helping to boost tourism, create jobs and generate revenue.
            Yet despite the program’s accomplishments, funding for Growing Greener projects and grants fell from an average of approximately $150 million per year for the last six years to $27.3 million in the current state budget, over an 80 percent reduction.
            The Renew Growing Greener Coalition is the Commonwealth’s largest coalition of conservation, recreation and environmental organizations representing nearly 350 organizations and government entities.


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