Budget Proposal would Ravage Environmental Programs

HARRISBURG – As Pennsylvania’s budget deadline approaches in Harrisburg, the Governor’s office has put forward a proposal that would result in deep cuts to Pennsylvania’s environmental programs.

“If this proposal were to pass, it would be one of the worst raids of Pennsylvania’s environmental programs in recent history,” stated PennEnvironment’s Erika Staaf. “Slashing funding of our cornerstone environmental programs that protect our farmlands, open spaces, state parks and keep our air clean is extremely short-sighted and would reverse much of the environmental progress made in the last decade.”

In total, the budget proposal includes a number of suspensions of revenue going into some environmental funds, as well as transfers out of other funds. The Governor has proposed $132 million worth of suspensions and transfers from environmental funds, out of $182 million total cuts. The environmental budget cuts would diminish Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener program, Keystone Fund, Surface Mining Conservation, Energy Development Fund, and Agriculture Easement Purchase Fund.

“Gov. Rendell’s environmental legacy will largely be defined by this budget,” said Staaf. “Unfortunately, these proposed environmental cuts would do irreparable damage to Pennsylvania’s environment.”  

Environmental and conservation advocates in Harrisburg and across the state are voicing their opposition to the Rendell administration’s proposal to make the environment the target of massive programmatic budget cuts.

“More than ever, the Gulf coast disaster reminds us that we need to protect our environment now and for future generations, because it’s too late to turn back the clock once our special places are destroyed,” said Staaf. “Now is the time for Gov. Rendell and state legislators to make the right decision and keep our important environmental programs alive and well.”

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