CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners passed a resolution at Tuesday’s regular meeting, which encouraged state officials to renew funding for the Growing Greener program with “dedicated, sustainable and long-term” sources.
The Growing Greener program has provided funding for initiatives, such as preserving open space and farmlands and developing community park and recreation areas. It also supports cleaning up abandoned mines and brownfield sites, restoring impaired rivers and streams and protecting and improving our state game, forest and park lands.
According to the resolution, Clearfield County has effectively leveraged Growing Greener funds to achieve tangible, lasting results for its residents. These projects subsequently protect the health of citizens and enhance the quality of life for them, in part by preserving open space and historic resources, providing for community parks and recreation and safeguarding water resources.
“These projects also provide significant health and economic benefits, increase property value and improve the community’s ability to attracting growing businesses,” the resolution stated.
“Clearfield County has learned that Growing Greener II will soon expire and funds for Growing Greener I have been precipitously diminished; and that this will affect the community’s ability to restore and protect our local environment.”
According to the resolution, Clearfield County understands that throughout Pennsylvania: Growing Greener II has helped to preserve nearly 34,000 acres of working family farms; conserve more than 42,300 acres of threatened natural areas; restore more than 1,600 acres of abandoned mine lands; and enhance access to outdoor recreation through 234 community park projects and 132 state park and forest infrastructure projects.
The resolution cited Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which states that “The people have a right to clean air, pure water and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all people.”
Clearfield County realizes that the Commonwealth is losing three times more forest, wildlife habitat, foreland and other open spaces to development than it is able to preserve. In addition, it understands that the Commonwealth has more than 16,000 miles of rivers and streams that are unsafe for fishing and swimming; that in Pennsylvania, more than 2,000 working family farms await projection from encroaching development; that 189,000 acres of abandoned mine lands scar 44 of the Commonwealth’s counties; and that the grant funds available for community and county recreation, greenways and trails projects have been severely diminished.
The commissioners’ signed resolution will be forwarded to Gov. Tom Corbett and to the respective county and legislators.