|Final State Budget Includes Nearly $700 Million In Funding To Support Local And State Environmental, Recreation Infrastructure Projects! Source: PA Environmental Digest, 7/11/2022|
On July 8, the Senate and House, in a bipartisan vote, approved the final FY 2022-23 state budget which includes nearly $700 million in funding to support on-farm conservation, water and sewer projects, mine reclamation and state park, forest and recreational infrastructure projects.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Senate and House, hunters, anglers, farm, environmental, recreation groups all worked together to bring home a win on this Growing Greener III funding. Read more here.
What’s In It
The final budget includes–
Federal American Rescue Plan Funding [Senate Bill 1100] —
— $320 million to Commonwealth Financing Authority for water & sewer projects
— $214.4 million of that goes into the CFA H2O Program water & sewer project account
with $105.6 million of that reserved for projects from $30,000 up to $500,000
[House Bill 1421 page 79]
— $220 million to a new Clean Streams Fund [House Bill 1421 page 87] —
— 70% State Conservation Commission – new Agriculture Conservation Assistance Program [in House Bill 1421 page 49]
— 10% to PennVEST
— 10% to Nutrient Management Fund
— 4% to DEP for Stormwater Management Grants
— 4% to DCNR for Keystone Tree Restricted Account
— 2% for Abandoned Mine Drainage Abatement
— $100 million in State Parks and Outdoor Recreation Program [House Bill 1421 page 43]
DCNR Oil & Gas Lease Fund [Senate Bill 1100] —
— $56 million for a State Parks & Forests Infrastructure Program
Other funding includes–
— $6.8 million increase for county conservation districts [Senate Bill 1100]
— $12.3 million is allocated from Personal Income Tax revenue to pay Growing Greener II debt service [House Bill 1421 page 135]
— $15 million transfer from Oil & Gas Lease Fund to Marcellus Legacy Fund to Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund [House Bill 1421 page 48]
— $55.789 million transfer from Oil & Gas Lease Fund to support DCNR operations [Senate Bill 1100]
Overall Agency Budgets–
— DEP – overall increase $13.6 million
— DCNR – overall increase $12.9 million
— Agriculture – overall increase $$51.9 million (most Agricultural Preparedness & Response (spotted lanternfly)
— Click Here for Senate Republican summary of entire budget.
— Senate Bill 1100 – General Fund Budget (including federal American Rescue Plan funding)
— House Bill 1421 – Fiscal Code
— Environmental Groups Host July 13 State Budget Briefing Webinar [PaEN]
Commenting on the significant clean water investments in the new budget, Bill Chain, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA Interim Director and Senior Agriculture Program Manager in Pennsylvania said:
“Not since the days of the Ridge Administration and the first Growing Greener legislation in 1999, has Pennsylvania’s Governor and General Assembly made such monumental investments to restore and protect the waters that flow from farms, fields, and forests into our local rivers and streams, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.
“Funding for the new Agriculture Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP) will go a long way toward accelerating conservation practices that keep valuable nutrients and topsoil on the farm and out of local streams.
“ACAP is designed to fund conservation efforts where they are needed most by ranking and providing resources to counties based on farm activity.
“Pennsylvania farmers have shown they are willing to invest their time, land, and limited funds to clean and protect local rivers and streams.
“The landmark investments in this budget will give them added financial and technical resources to reduce polluted runoff, increase farm sustainability, and get the Commonwealth back on track toward meeting its clean water commitments.
“CBF especially thanks State Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) and State Representative Johnathan Hershey (R-Juniata) for championing bipartisan legislation to create the Clean Streams Fund and ACAP. [Bipartisan sponsors in Senate; Bipartisan sponsors in House.]
“CBF is also proud to have joined the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, and State Conservation Commission in creating ACAP. We also appreciate all Pennsylvanians who spoke up for local clean water and helped get these measures across the finish line.
“CBF is also delighted that new funding will be going to the Keystone Tree Restricted Account so that more trees can be planted to help clean up our local waters.
“The Commonwealth has a lot of work to do if it is to achieve its Clean Water Blueprint. That legislators and the Governor provided significant and sustainable investments in this budget is vital to our health, economic well-being, and quality of life.”