The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), as part of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Restoration and Conservation (PARC Coalition), today called on Governor Rendell and the General Assembly to invest a portion of the proposed severance fee on drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania toward environmental protection and improvement through the Environmental Stewardship Fund.
PEC and the PARC Coalition fully agree with the Governor that these are extremely difficult economic times. However, it is important to recognize that a significant increase in the extraction of natural gas also brings an increase in impacts to natural and community resources.
Investment in environmental programs, especially resource protection and restoration, creates jobs, benefits citizens and communities, and generates real economic returns. These efforts are fundamental to the Commonwealth’s economic future.
Over the last several years, more than $784 million in environmental funding has been diverted to balance the state budget or to provide funding for other programs. This includes recent plans to divert $174 million – or 92 percent – of the Oil and Gas Lease Fund to pay for general state operations, leaving environmental infrastructure needs unmet.