Dear Growing Greener Stakeholder,
At the end of last week, the General Assembly passed a budget that maintained the status quo regarding state investments in Growing Greener-type projects. Legislators spent a little more than $1 billion of the state’s $7.3 billion in American Rescue Plan dollars, none of it on natural infrastructure; also, no action was taken on Senate Bill 525 ($500 million for a “Growing Greener III”) prior to legislators leaving Harrisburg for the summer.
It is unfortunate that legislators did not seize the opportunity to direct ARP funds into addressing PA’s tremendous stream and wetland restoration, park, trail, land conservation, and other natural infrastructure needs, but there is still opportunity. When legislators return to Harrisburg in late September, the Growing Greener Coalition will advocate for the passage of Senate Bill 525 and use of ARP funds for natural infrastructure.
In the meantime, you can help build an important foundation for advocacy success: Invite your legislators and aides to visit state-funded stream restoration, park, preserve, trail, and other natural infrastructure projects that are benefitting their constituents and discuss with them the great new projects organizations (or local governments) could achieve with a boost in state investments. If they cannot make it to a site visit, at least visit them in their district offices.
(For some pointers on organizing a site visit, refer to Hosting Legislators.)
Also, if your Senator cosponsored SB 525, now is a good time to thank them for doing so and encourage their continued leadership in the fall. Here are the cosponsors:
Sen. J. Ward
Enjoy the summer!
Chair, Growing Greener Coalition
Executive Director, WeConservePA