Two critical pieces of legislation will be debated by lawmakers this spring in Harrisburg, both of which would use federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to bring about enormous positive change for clean water across Pennsylvania.
The first bill, called “Growing Greener III” – also known as Senate Bill 525 in the Senate and House Bill 2020 in the state House of Representatives – would reinvigorate a popular conservation program created under former Gov. Tom Ridge two decades ago.
Specifically, the Growing Greener program provides critical support to community-driven work that improves and protects our cities and towns. Since 1999, Growing Greener has been a lifeline to conservation and clean water projects across the state. These investments bring lasting benefits to communities across Pennsylvania from clean water to open spaces to recreational pursuits for Pennsylvanians and tourists alike.
SB 525 and HB 2020 would replenish the Growing Greener Fund with $500 million in federal funds allocated by the American Rescue Plan Act.
The second bill, called “Clean Streams Fund” – known as Senate Bill 832 in the state Senate and House Bill 1901 in the state House – would create a new program to tackle water pollution from nonpoint sources such as agriculture runoff and drainage from abandoned mines. Specifically, this new Fund would establish new programs and give a boost to existing programs. It would create the Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program to help farmers and the Municipal Stormwater Assistance Program to provide funding to local governments to manage stormwater.
SB 832 and HB 1901 would allocate $250 million in American Rescue Plan funds for clean water initiatives.
Our state lawmakers received $7 billion in federal funding last year, and instead of using that money to better the lives of everyday Pennsylvanians, they stowed most of it away for a rainy day. Act now and tell lawmakers that funding clean water initiatives isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.