House unanimously overturns Corbett's plan to gut funding thanks to public outcry
Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture) today praised the Pennsylvania House for last night's vote unanimously adopting an amendment sponsored by House Majority Appropriations Committee Chair Bill Adolph, R-Delaware, that fully restores funding for the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund – the backbone of conservation funding in Pennsylvania. The governor's budget proposal had called for permanent elimination of the funding.
"There have been many strong advocates on behalf of the Keystone Fund in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle, but none greater than Rep. Adolph," said PennFuture's Policy Director Steve Stroman. "He has been an unswerving champion to restore this funding from shortly after Gov. Corbett proposed the environmental funding raid. Adolph served public notice on administration officials in budget hearings that the Appropriations Committee he chairs would not accept the administration's plan. Adolph's determined stand benefits all Pennsylvanians, and his continued leadership throughout the budget negotiations deserves our deep gratitude.
"There were other environmental heroes that helped make a difference, including Reps. Kate Harper, R-Montgomery and Greg Vitali, D-Delaware," continued Stroman. "Citizens across the state spoke up to protect the funding, and called, emailed, and visited their legislators to make sure that we protect these vital investments in Penn's Woods.
"But we cannot rest now," continued Stroman. "The budget negotiations are at a critical stage and we must be vigilant in our efforts so that the Keystone Fund will be spared. We urge families and businesses across the state to continue to contact their legislators on behalf of the Keystone Fund."
The Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund (Key '93) was established in 1993 with overwhelming bi-partisan support in a voter referendum and legislative act (48-0 in the PA Senate and a 196-3 in the House). The Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund is Pennsylvania's only funding source that directs money specifically to community park and recreation grants and land trust grants. In 2011-12, Keystone supported $9.5M in community parks and recreation projects, $3.8M in land trust projects and $11.4M in state park and forest projects.
No state funding program has had a more lasting impact on local communities than the Keystone Fund, which has supported the development and rehabilitation of 2,557 community park projects, 846 trail projects, helped conserve 145,909 acres of green space, and protected tens of thousands of acres of open space. Each dollar of Keystone Fund investment in communities leverages on average $2.28 in private and local investments.
PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization that advances policies to protect and improve the state's environment and economy. With offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Wilkes-Barre, PennFuture's activities include litigating cases before regulatory bodies and in local, state, and federal courts, advocating and advancing legislative action on a state and federal level, public education, and assisting citizens in public advocacy.
Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future
Jeanne K. Clark, 412-258-6683 or 412-736-6092