Corbett Administration Announces $23.2 Million in Grants to Protect, Improve Watersheds

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Governor Tom Corbett announced yesterday that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will invest more than $23.2 million in 109 watershed protection projects to improve watersheds, reduce stormwater runoff and acid mine drainage (AMD), and support educational programs, among other environmental efforts.

“This annual grant initiative funds important environmental projects to protect one of our most important natural resources, clean water,” Gov. Corbett said. “Funding projects like these reaffirms our dedication to preserving Pennsylvania’s water resources.”

Gov. Corbett also spoke about the environmental accomplishments of his administration.

“Over the past four years, we’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars in protecting our natural resources,” Gov. Corbett said.

That money includes:

– The first infusion of new money in over a decade into the state’s landmark Growing Greener program, with more than $22 million from natural gas impact fees

– More than $200 million of new money into the new Marcellus Legacy Fund, which provides funds for environmental restoration, open space conservation, recreation, trails, water and sewer, flood protection and a host of other environmental improvements

– $200 million as part of the Enhance Penn’s Woods initiative – the single largest investment over a two year period in Pennsylvania’s history in its state park and state forest infrastructure

– More than $55 million in alternative fuels vehicles, with 50 percent allocated exclusively for local transportation organizations

– Last year, nearly $1 million was given to small businesses to help them implement energy efficiency or pollution prevention projects

– Since January 2013, DEP has reimbursed $5.5 million in solar rebates to homeowners and small businesses

“While those investments are important, protecting the environment is about much more than simply spending money,” Gov. Corbett said. “I have been proud to partner with Lieutenant Governor Cawley and our General Assembly to strengthen – permanently – our environmental protection laws – including Act 13 of 2012, which, for the first time in 30 years, overhauled our environmental laws with respect to natural gas drilling, bringing about more protections for water, land and air resources; tougher penalties; and increased transparency and public involvement.

“Act 13 also created a natural gas impact fee. To date, more than $630 million in new revenue has been generated, benefiting every community in this commonwealth,” Gov. Corbett said. “And the projects we’ve announced today are a continuation of our commitment to the environment, which has been a clear priority over the past four years. We’ve also adopted landmark pipeline safety legislation, and put into place strong, consistent and pragmatic regulatory provisions that have helped make our air, land and water resources much cleaner today than they’ve been in decades.”

This year, the Growing Greener Program, funded by the Environmental Stewardship Fund, will award $17,393,100 for 90 projects around the state. More than $8.2 million of this year’s grants were funded by the natural gas impact fee.

Six additional grants, totaling $2,031,658, are funded by the AMD Set Aside Program. One additional project, funded by the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Grant, will receive $352,867.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program is funding 12 additional projects, totaling $3,430,718. The program was created through the federal Clean Water Act to help reduce water pollution from nonpoint sources.

The 109 projects will reduce pollution in impaired streams by implementing agricultural and stormwater best management practices; developing, repairing or installing passive systems to treat AMD; and supporting the establishment of riparian buffers, among other methods.

Two of the primary goals under Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener Program are to invest in projects that protect watersheds from impairment and to restore waterways already impaired. Some examples include restoration work to reduce pollutants in impaired watersheds for which a pollution budget has been developed; projects that would reduce the source of impairment; and activities that lead to water quality restoration and protection.

In this latest grant round, 225 eligible applicants requested about $52.7 million. Applications came from counties, authorities and other municipalities; county conservation districts; councils of governments; watershed organizations that promote local watershed conservation efforts; and other authorized organizations involved in restoring and protecting the environment.

For more information about Growing Greener, email [email protected], call 717-705-4500 or visit DEP’s website at www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword: Growing Greener.


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