What is Growing Greener II?
Growing Greener II, a voter-approved plan that invested $625 million to clean up rivers and streams; protect natural areas, open spaces and working farms; and shore up key programs to improve quality of life and revitalize communities across the commonwealth was signed into law in June 2005.
The $625 million was spread out over six years in the following manner:
- $230 million to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to clean up rivers and streams; take on serious environmental problems at abandoned mines and contaminated industrial sites; and finance the development and deployment of advanced energy projects.
- $217.5 million to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to preserve natural areas and open spaces; improve state parks; and enhance local recreational needs.
- $80 million to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) to protect working farms.
- $50 million to the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to revitalize communities through investments in housing and mixed-use redevelopment projects.
- $27.5 million to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) to repair fish hatcheries and aging dams.
- $20 million to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) for habitat-related facility upgrades and repairs.
A provision in the law set up an Environmental Block Grant Program that allowed counties to address local priorities. Counties could designate up to $90 million over the life of the bond program to target specific needs. Each county was guaranteed a minimum level of funding. Funding was distributed among the state’s 67 counties according to their class.
Growing Greener II also restored funding in the short term for the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA) Fund, which was heading toward fiscal ruin. DEP stopped new public protection projects and triaged ongoing cleanups. Growing Greener II provided $50 million over two years to shore up the program.
The DEP Growing Greener II funding has been spent or committed.