Kil­lion pushes bid to spend on con­ser­va­tion

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Rick Kauff­man rkauff­man@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Kauf­fee_DT on Twit­ter

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.

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