HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A Pennsylvania state Senate committee on Tuesday approved legislation to use federal coronavirus relief aid to revive a long-running program designed to help clean up waterways, repair parks and preserve open spaces.
The bill, approved 10-1, would inject the Growing Greener program with $ 500 million from the American Rescue Plan Act signed by President Joe Biden in March.
The bill still requires approval from the entire Senate and House before it can be forwarded to Governor Tom Wolf’s office. The money is likely to come from the remaining $ 2.4 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act. It had been set aside to balance next year’s budget.
Growing Greener, started in 1999, has already benefited from cash injections, but conservationists say what’s left is not enough, given long-term inflation and growing needs like preventing water runoff. farmland and stormwater drainage draining from the Susquehanna River into the Chesapeake Bay. .
The law would send $ 225 million to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, $ 200 million to the Department of Environmental Protection and $ 75 million to the Department of Agriculture.
Eligible projects include improvement of state parks and forests, local parks and riverbanks, land preservation, flood prevention projects, and pollution control efforts, such as mine cleanup abandoned coal beds and the protection of watercourses against runoff.
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