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Feature: Looking Back To Improve Pennsylvania’s Environment Going Forward
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Many times it’s helpful to look back in history to refresh our memories about how we got to where we are, before making plans for the future.

This past week, PA Environment Digest gave readers a glimpse of what the political and public discussion of environmental policy and legislation-- and accomplishments-- were like between 1995 and 2002.

It can be summed up in three words-- Leadership, Partnership and Accomplishment.

The success of so many of the ground-breaking environmental initiatives during that time and the dramatic increases in resources to help DEP and DCNR accomplish their missions was a result of Leadership.

It was Leadership that built on past accomplishments and initiatives.

Leadership by two Governors-- Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker-- and bipartisan Leaders in the Senate and House and partners inside and outside government.

It was the Partnership of those leaders working together that created the important environmental advances of that time.

And it was the Partnership promoted and encouraged by DEP and DCNR with local watershed groups, land trusts, conservation districts, local governments, farmers and businesses that moved the environmental ball forward in sometimes dramatic ways.

The Accomplishments and the recognition of those accomplishments are on the public record and plain to see.

If nothing else, this special series gives today’s generation a look at what is possible and some, judging by the emails received by PA Environment Digest, never knew existed.

In many ways, the early 1970’s environmental activism is now beginning to rise again with new tools and ways to influence. 

You are standing on the shoulders of many, and you are not alone.  You cannot be ignored.

Hope you enjoyed this brief look into what was so you can help find Pennsylvania’s next environmental future.

And remember what Pennsylvania’s Margaret Mead said-- “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Articles In This Series

Feature: 20 Years Of Growing Greener: A Celebration Of Leadership, Partnership, Accomplishment

This article traces the development of the Environmental Stewardship “Growing Greener” Program from its origins in recommendations made in the 1998 report by Gov. Tom Ridge’s 21st Century Environment Commission to its enactment in late 1999 and during the first three years of operation until the end of 2002.  Click Here to read more.

1996 - Gov. Tom Ridge Talks About His Very Personal Connection To Lake Erie And The Need To Work Together To Restore The Great Lakes

In October of 1996, Gov. Tom Ridge, as Chair of the Great Lakes Council Of Governors, welcomed the interstate Great Lakes Commission to Erie, his home town, for its meeting.  Gov. Ridge delivered these remarks on his very personal connection to Lake Erie and the Great Lakes and the need to be good stewards and restore our water and natural resources.  Click Here to read more.

1996 - Gov. Tom Ridge: Expanding Partnerships To Clean Up The Susquehanna River And The Chesapeake Bay Beyond

In October 1996, Gov. Tom Ridge hosted the governors of Virginia and Maryland and other members of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council to discuss expanding the partnerships and programs needed to clean up the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Click Here to read more.

1996 - Gov. Tom Ridge Joins With Governors Delaware, New Jersey, Federal Officials To Establish The Delaware Estuary Program

On September 19, 1996, Gov. Tom Ridge joined the Governors of Delaware, New Jersey and federal officials to create the Delaware Estuary Program which expresses their joint commitment and responsibility for continued water quality improvements and water supply sustainability in the Delaware Estuary and Bay.  Here are his remarks noting Pennsylvania served as the first Chair of the Delaware Estuary Coordinating Conference.  Click Here to read more.

1996 - Gov. Tom Ridge Thanks First Environmental Excellence Award Winning Businesses For Eliminating 1.4 Million Tons Of Waste, Pollution

On October 28, 1996, Gov. Tom Ridge addressed the first-ever winners of the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards thanking them for showing others in the business community how reducing pollution and waste is good for the bottom line.  Click Here to read more.

1996 - Gov. Tom Ridge Talks About The Vision And Actions Needed To Restore Our Environment At The PA Environmental Council’s Three Rivers Awards

In May of 1996, Gov. Tom Ridge gave the keynote address at the PA Environmental Council’s Three Rivers Environmental Awards-- now the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards.  His remarks talked about the vision needed to respect and replenish our environment and the actions that need to be taken by all of us to make that happen.  Click Here to read more.

1996 - Gov. Tom Ridge Talks About Rebuilding Pennsylvania's Industrial Heritage Through Land Recycling

In April 1996, Gov. Tom Ridge participated in an event in the City of York announcing the redevelopment of a former brownfield site using the then recently passed Land Recycling Program and how it fits in the broader context of protecting the environment and encouraging economic opportunity.  Click Here to read more.

1996 - Department Of Environmental Protection Mission Statement & Statement Of Values

In 1996, just about a year after the Department of Environmental Protection was created in the July 1995 reorganization of the Department of Environmental Resources, DEP got its own Mission Statement and Statement of Values.

It outlined what the overall Mission-- responsibilities- were for the agency, and a Statement of Values that described, in part, how the agency would carry out those responsibilities.  Click Here to read more.

1995-2002 - DEP Secretary James M. Seif: The Assignment Was Clear - Take The Kick Me! Sign Off DER

James M. Seif served Gov. Tom Ridge as the first Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection from January 1995 to March 2001.  He wrote this retrospective on the environmental accomplishments of the Ridge and Schweiker Administrations and its many partners as an introduction to DEP for the incoming Rendell Administration in January 2003. Click Here to read more.

1995-2002 - DEP Secretary David E. Hess: Many New Hands Now Help Protect Penn’s Woods

In January of 2003, at the end of the eight years of the administrations of Governors Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker, DEP Secretary David E. Hess summarized some of the major accomplishments achieved by working in partnership with private industry, local governments, local watershed groups and many, many others.  Click Here to read more.

1995-2002 - Environmental Accomplishments Of The Ridge & Schweiker Administrations

During the eight years of Gov. Tom Ridge and Gov. Mark Schweiker, a variety of major environmental protection and conservation initiatives were developed and implemented, many of which set the standard for other states and nations to follow.

They were developed with the hard work of many partners, both inside and outside the departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources and on a bipartisan basis with members of the General Assembly.

Here is a list of just some of the accomplishments-- the many “firsts” -- implemented from 1995 to 2002 and built on the foundation of all the hard work that came before. Click Here to read more.

1995-2002: Awards And Recognition For Environmental Programs During The Ridge & Schweiker Administrations

From 1995 to 2002, the women and men who worked for the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and their many partners, won a variety of professional, national and international awards and recognition for their work, both individually and for programs and initiatives.

Recognition included organizations like the United Nations Environmental Honor Roll Of 500, the Ford Foundation, Harvard University, the Council of State Governments, Resources for the Future and many others.

Here a list of some of the more significant awards and recognition. Click Here to read more.

Additional Information

At the end of the Ridge and Schweiker Administrations, environmental accomplishment fact sheets were put together on a variety of subjects--

-- Land Recycling Program

-- Growing Greener Program

-- Meeting Chesapeake Bay Obligations

-- Reclaim - Abandoned Mine Reclamation

-- Pollution Prevention

-- Recycling In Pennsylvania

-- Public Participation

-- Environmental Education

-- Making DEP More Efficient, Effective & Green

(Photos: Gov. Ridge signing the Growing Greener legislation.  Gov. Schweiker after the successful rescue of the Quecreek Miners in Somerset County.)

Related Articles In This Series:

Feature: 20 Years Of Growing Greener: A Celebration Of Leadership, Partnership, Accomplishment

1996 - Gov. Tom Ridge: Expanding Partnerships To Clean Up The Susquehanna River And The Chesapeake Bay Beyond

1996 - Gov. Tom Ridge Joins With Governors Of Delaware, New Jersey, Federal Officials To Establish The Delaware Estuary Program

1996 - Gov. Tom Ridge Thanks First Environmental Excellence Award Winning Businesses For Eliminating 1.4 Million Tons Of Waste, Pollution

1996 - Gov. Tom Ridge Talks About Rebuilding Pennsylvania's Industrial Heritage Through Land Recycling

1996 - Gov. Tom Ridge Talks About The Vision And Actions Needed To Restore Our Environment At The PA Environmental Council’s Three Rivers Awards

1996 - Department Of Environmental Protection Mission Statement & Statement Of Values

1995-2002 - DEP Secretary James M. Seif: The Assignment Was Clear - Take The Kick Me! Sign Off DER

1995-2002 - DEP Secretary David E. Hess: Many New Hands Now Help Protect Penn’s Woods

1995-2002 - Environmental Accomplishments Of The Ridge & Schweiker Administrations

1995-2002: Awards And Recognition For Environmental Programs During The Ridge & Schweiker Administrations

[Posted: December 15, 2019]


12/16/2019

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