USA. Governor Rendell invests $27 million in Growing Greener Programs

Thursday, 30 November 2006

Continuing his work to improve Pennsylvania's economic and environmental health, Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced a $27 million investment to clean up streams and rivers, address serious environmental problems at abandoned mine sites and revitalize communities across the state.

The money will finance 153 projects through Pennsylvania's traditional Growing Greener Program and the voter-approved Growing Greener II bond initiative.

"Growing Greener allows us to leverage state dollars with Pennsylvania's natural capital; protecting the resources that draw people to live, work and play in the commonwealth," Governor Rendell said. "Our natural resources are and will continue to be valued as economic, recreational and environmental assets. It is this scenic and wild beauty that makes Pennsylvania so unique."

Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty announced the Growing Greener investments during a ceremony in Exeter Borough, Luzerne County, where she also awarded nearly $1 million for three grants for planned improvements to Hicks Creek.

"The involvement of local groups is absolutely essential to the success of restoration projects supported by Growing Greener, and the restoration being done here on Hicks Creek is the perfect example of the power of a strong partnership," McGinty said. "Working together, we can amplify our efforts and achieve significant results for the people of Pennsylvania."

McGinty presented a combined $916,677 to Exeter Borough, the Hicks Creek Watershed Association and the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation for stream bank restoration and stabilization on Hicks Creek.

The three grants - $220,593 to the borough, $246,084 to the watershed association and $450,000 to the coalition - will finance projects that tackle sediment issues, alleviating flooding problems threatening downstream areas as well as curbing the threat of the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus.

Included in the $27 million, which represents the eighth round of funding awarded by DEP under the traditional Growing Greener program, are $7.9 million in traditional watershed grants and $13.1 million in grants under the voter- approved Growing Greener II bond initiative.

In addition, DEP is recommending $5.9 million in Nonpoint Source Implementation Program Grants, funded through Section 319(h) of the federal Clean Water Act.

Since 1999, DEP has supplied $181.7 million in watershed grants for 1,592 projects in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania through the traditional Growing Greener Program. The grants are used to create or restore wetlands, restore stream buffer zones, eliminate causes of nonpoint source pollution, plug oil and gas wells, reclaim abandoned mine lands and restore aquatic life to streams that were lifeless due to acid mine drainage.

Voters in May 2005 approved a $625 million bond issue to clean up rivers and streams; protect natural areas, open spaces and working farms; and shore up key programs to improve quality of life and revitalize communities across the commonwealth.

Since then, DEP has awarded $28.4 million for 106 watershed projects to make Pennsylvania healthier, a better place to live and more competitive in attracting and supporting business investment through the Growing Greener II initiative.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 30 November 2006 )