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What is Growing Greener?

Growing Greener remains the largest single investment of state funds in Pennsylvania's history to address Pennsylvania's critical environmental concerns of the 21st century.

Signed into law on Dec.15, 1999, and reauthorized in June 2002, this legislation doubled the funding for the Growing Greener program and extended it through 2012. This increased DEP's portion of Growing Greener to $547.7 million from the original $240 million. Growing Greener has helped to slash the backlog of farmland-preservation projects statewide; protect open space; eliminate the maintenance backlog in state parks; clean up abandoned mines and restore watersheds; provide funds for recreational trails and local parks; help communities address land use; and provide new and upgraded water and sewer systems.

The funds are distributed among four state agencies: the Department of Agriculture to administer farmland preservation projects; the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for state park renovations and improvements; and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority for water and sewer system upgrades.

The total dollar commitment to the Growing Greener Program was doubled from $645 million to $1.3 billion and extended through 2012 by a permanent dedication of a $4/ton municipal waste disposal fee to Growing Greener-- $50 million in FY 2002-03 (the balance going to the General Fund for that one year) and the full $94 million to Growing Greener from FY 2003-04 through 2012.

DEP's portion of Growing Greener more than doubled to $547.7 million over the life of the program, from $241.5 million in the original program five-year program. DEP is authorized to allocate these funds in grants for:

  • Watershed restoration and protection;
  • Abandoned mine reclamation; and
  • Abandoned oil and gas well plugging projects.