Pa. lawmakers propose severance tax to fund environmental conservation

Written by Rachel McDevitt | May 10, 2017 6:14 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Some state lawmakers are hoping to shore up a state program for environmental conservation, and they want to fund the initiative with a "reasonable" tax on natural gas drilling.

Since the mid-2000s, the Growing Greener program has seen a nearly 75 percent cut in funding. New legislation would allocate $315 million a year to the program, which has been used to reclaim abandoned mineland, clean up waterways, and build recreational parks and trails.

Democratic Senator John Yudichak of Luzerne County is a cosponsor on the bill. He said the program has gained support across the aisle. 

"It doesn't happen too often," Yudichak said on bipartisan agreement, "but on the Growing Greener program since 1999, it has happened."

Yudichak also said the program has proven itself since it was established in 1999.

"Growing Greener has invested millions of dollars--not only in environmental protection and conservation--but also in economic development, " Yudichak said. "Reclaiming the abandoned minelands, cleaning up our rivers and streams is good not only for the environment, it's good for creating jobs and helping economic development."

Yudichak said 43 counties across the state still have thousands of acres of abandoned mineland, which can't be put to better use without a program like Growing Greener.

Proposals from Democratic Governor Tom Wolf to enact a severance tax on natural gas drilling have failed in the last two legislative sessions. 

Published in News

Tagged under , ,

back to top