“The impact of the new state budget passed by the General Assembly cannot be overstated in its importance to our environment, open spaces and natural resources, and for the economies that benefit from our state’s clean waters and healthy lands,” said PennFuture President and CEO Jacquelyn Bonomo. “This is a spending plan that includes a total of $884.75 million for clean water, land conservation, infrastructure, parks, energy efficiency and forests investments, and is truly generational funding for Pennsylvania.
Specifically, the budget includes $696 million for the new State Parks and Outdoor Recreation Program - formerly known as the Growing Greener program - as well as new funding for water infrastructure and the new Clean Streams Fund. This is a truly monumental investment in our parks and green spaces, on our trails and waterways, and in communities across the Commonwealth. The rejuvenation of this program is the culmination of many years of hard work from PennFuture and other advocacy organizations that have fought continuously for this funding, and we are thrilled that our collective efforts have finally come to fruition.
This budget also includes an increase of $63.75 million for critical agencies like the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, and the commissions that are tasked with protecting and preserving our river basins. Those increases will directly result in more staffing, more programming and enhancements to outdoor spaces and clean water that Pennsylvanians cherish the most.
Finally, PennFuture is thrilled that the budget includes $125 million for the Whole Home Repairs Act, which creates a one-stop shop for home repairs and weatherization while building out our workforce and creating new family-sustaining jobs. This legislation will also cut emissions and foster more energy efficiency in homes across Pennsylvania.
These budget provisions will make possible important protection, restoration and stewardship programs for Pennsylvania’s land and water, and the systems and structures we have in place for people to enjoy and benefit from them. Throughout the pandemic, especially early on when PennFuture released our “Green Stimulus and Recovery Platform for Pennsylvania,” it was evident that the historic investments our state made in parks, forests, clean water and healthy land were spot on. The new investments that will be made as a result of the budget provisions will ensure these hallmark values of our state and its economy will continue.
This new spending plan is a victory for any person who cherishes clean air, clean water and open spaces that offer the opportunity to reflect on the natural beauty of our Commonwealth. PennFuture thanks each elected official who helped get this budget across the finish line, and we eagerly anticipate watching these investments reverberate for years to come.”
PennFuture is Pennsylvania’s leading environmental advocacy organization with offices in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Erie and East Stroudsburg. We are protecting our air, water and land, and empowering citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations.
Director of Media Relations