Pa. Aims to Grow Greener With $154 Million Investment in Environmental Initiatives
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, Pa. According to the Pennsylvania Office of the Governor, 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.”
Statewide, $80 million will be used to purchase agricultural conservation easements through Pennsylvania’s farmland preservation program. The funds will permanently protect 38,000 acres of productive farmland. To date, according to the state, $39.4 million has been spent to preserve more than 14,800 acres on 142 farms.
On the local level, the funds have been used to help community parks such as the Eco-Innovation Park in Allegheny County. According to the state, the park will use $250,000 of Growing Greener II money, in cooperation with the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, to fund 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.
According to the Pennsylvania Office of the Governor, 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.
- Brownfield remediation.
- Industrial site revitalization.
- Community parks and recreation centers.
- 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,” Rendell said.
Approved by Pennsylvania voters in 2005, Growing Greener II is a plan to invest $625 million over 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.
The law creating Growing Greener II also calls for an annual update of all the projects funded as part of the project.
A detailed list of the projects is available at http://www.growinggreener2.com.