Greening Pennsylvania - $154 Million For Green Projects
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania is giving $154 million dollars to green projects in the state. THe projects will help maintain and protect Pennsylvania's environment and open space, preserve farmland, protect watersheds, reclaim abandoned mines, remediate acid mine drainage and invest in other environmental initiatives. The money will go to 415 projects across the commonwealth for the second year. It is all part of Pennsylvania's pioneering Growing Greener II initiative, a state project. Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, a strong supporter of the initiative, announced the funding today.
The Governor said that as part of his effort to ensure transparent government, a detailed list of the projects is available online at www.growinggreener2.com.
"We are using the Internet as a valuable tool to showcase how state funding is being invested to create a better Pennsylvania for everyone," Governor Rendell said. "I want people to easily be able to see that we are now funding projects that will preserve farmland, plug leaking oil wells, reclaim abandoned mines, and improve state parks. The project list may also provide new ideas for potential applicants."
Growing Greener II projects are funded through the departments of Environmental Protection, Conservation and Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Community and Economic Development; as well as the Fish and Boat and Game commissions.
Statewide, $80 million will be used to purchase agricultural conservation easements through Pennsylvania's nation-leading farmland preservation program. The funds will permanently protect 38,000 acres of productive farmland. To date, $39.4 million has been spent to preserve more than 14,800 acres on 142 farms.
Included in the hundreds of projects financed by this initiative is a $1.35 million grant to eliminate dangerous cliffs and spoil piles at the former Kelley Estate mine in West Keating Township, Clinton County. The 130-acre project also will restore habitat for elk and other wildlife, transforming a portion of the "Pennsylvania Wilds" into a vast mountain meadow.
On the local level, the funds have been used to help community parks, like the Eco-Innovation Park in Allegheny County, which will use $250,000 of Growing Greener II money, in cooperation with the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, to fund things like new trails, ADA access, a rain garden and a green roof demonstration area, which will show how buildings can be heated or cooled without using large amounts of energy.
Other projects that are scheduled to receive money include new or innovative drinking water/wastewater treatment systems, dam improvements, open space acquisitions, repairs and upgrades to fish hatcheries, wildlife habitat development, acid mine drainage abatement, brown fields remediation, industrial site revitalization, community parks and recreation centers and watershed protection.
"The huge scope of these projects shows that the Growing Greener II funds are truly being used to sustain Pennsylvania's environment in a broad range of ways, like giving citizens a safe place for outdoor recreation and allowing us to support Pennsylvania's farming heritage by preserving farmlands," the Governor said.
Growing Greener II is a voter-approved plan that invests $625 million in six years to clean up rivers and streams; protect natural areas, open spaces and working farms; and shore up key programs to improve the quality of life and revitalize communities across the commonwealth. Growing Greener II allocates $90 million for counties to use to designate eligible environmental projects, as well. The law creating Growing Greener II also calls for an annual update of all the projects funded as part of the project.
The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his Web site at: www.governor.state.pa.us.