Killion pushes bid to spend on conservation
State Sen. Tom Killion’s bill aims to allocate $315M in annual investments for environmental conservation.
State Sen. Tom Killion, R-9, of Middletown, introduced a bill Wednesday that aims to allocate $315 million in annual investments for environmental conservation, recreation, and preservation projects across the commonwealth.
In a message to Congress, Killion wrote favorably of the Growing Greener program, which has funded hundreds of local parks and trail projects, conserved more than 50,000 acres of threatened open space and protected more than 33,500 acres of family farmland.
“Even with this comprehensive history of success, there is still much more work that needs to be done,” Killion wrote.
Fearing further reduction in funding, which has decreased from an estimated average of $200 million in the mid-2000s to $57 million this year, a reduction of 75 percent, Killion aims to re-establish a long term funding program for years to come with Senate Bill 1374.
“Our goal is to establish a Growing Greener III framework that the governor and legislature can embrace to renew this critical program and ensure its continued vitality long into the future,” wrote Killion, who faces Democrat Marty Molloy in the November election.
Back in 1996 as the county council vice chairman, Killion first introduced the plan that would allocate a $100 million bond to be invested over the course of 10 years in acquiring and restoring land and in planning future development.
“It will stop problems in the developed areas and prevent problems in the undeveloped areas,’’ Killion said in 1996, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The $315 million will be directly allocated to the state Department of Community and Economic Development, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
“I have a long history of working on a variety of environmental issues going back to my time on Delaware County Council,” Killion said in a statement Wednesday. “There, I saw firsthand how investing in open space, parks, and trails brought life to our community.
“Those types of investments dramatically improved the quality of life for Pennsylvania residents.”
Killion’s proposition with Growing Greener III is said to create “new priorities like community planning and smart growth investments will help provide resources to local municipalities to develop comprehensive plans for the future.”
“I look forward to working with all the stakeholders to get this proposal to the governor’s desk,” Killion said.