Pennsylvania Update

From the Desk of Shannon Gority

Spring 2020

Optimistic Budget Proposal

CBF is encouraged by some aspects of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s $36 billion General Fund budget proposal for fiscal year 2020-21. The governor proposes to increase funding for the Department of Environmental Protection, restoring it to above 1994-95 levels for the first time in a decade.

CBF is also pleased that funds within the Environmental Stewardship Fund (ESF) would no longer be used to pay debt service on the Growing Greener Fund. Extra ESF dollars can be spent to plant more trees, address acid mine drainage, and protect additional acres of productive farmland.

Still, with this budget, it remains unclear how the state will close the over $320 million annual shortfall in investments needed to meet Pennsylvania’s Clean Water Blueprint by 2025. Ultimately, it’s up to state legislators to ensure funding so Pennsylvania’s farms, families, and communities can restore and protect the land, water, and air.

Year-Three Kick Off for Trees

The Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership’s third season is underway on a limited basis based on the goal of adhering to all CDC and state guidelines designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 during the coronavirus pandemic.

Small partner groups that have taken direct delivery of some trees from nurseries and growers, have worked to plant those trees.

Spring is also an opportune time to revisit buffers already planted and perform maintenance. As with any outdoor activity, it is important to maintain social distancing.

Fertilizer Standards for Turf

A new fertilizer bill (SB 915) sets standards for turf application, labeling, and professional fertilizer applicator certification, and provides for an education program. The provisions of the bill, would help reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution entering Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams. “This legislation will reduce the environmental impact of fertilizer applied to turf areas, such as lawns, golf courses, and athletic fields,” says bill sponsor Senator Gene Yaw, R-Lycoming. Similar legislation has been enacted in Maryland and Virginia.

 —Shannon Gority 
Pennsylvania Executive Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

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