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Pennsylvania Alliance for Restoration and Conservation Call On Legislature and the Governor to Preserve the Keystone Fund.

Groups Say Do Not Rob Peter to Pay Paul When It Comes to Environment

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Alliance for Restoration and Conservation (PARC) today asked the Governor and the General Assembly to oppose proposals to transfer some of the funding for the Keystone Recreation, Parks and Conservation Fund to the Hazardous Sites Clean-up Fund (HSCA).

"The Keystone Fund provides critical funding for local parks, recreation projects, and for conserving what is left of our open space and natural heritage," said Brian Hill, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and co-chair of PARC.

"We know that it is vitally important to find funding for HSCA," continued Hill. "But it should not be at the expense of another crucial conservation program. There are several alternatives for funding HSCA already under consideration in the General Assembly; the PARC Coalition strongly believes that one of these proposed new funding mechanisms should be utilized."

Hill added, "Each year we find ourselves fighting off proposals to rob Peter to pay Paul when it comes to protecting and conserving the environment. The citizens of Pennsylvania have been clear in their support of providing more funding for conservation, not less."

"Costs for local park and recreation projects increase every day, and the cost of preserving open space escalates as development pressure increases," said Andy Loza, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association. "If funding is taken away from Keystone, it will mean fewer local athletic fields, fewer park improvements and thousands of acres of land lost to development. That is simply unacceptable to us and to the people of Pennsylvania."

Hill concluded, "At a time when the state is developing a response to climate change, we should not cut the Keystone Fund, a nationally recognized conservation program. Forests, farms and open space store carbon and offset global warming. Protecting these lands is in the Commonwealth's best interest."

PARC is an alliance of conservation, sporting and parks organizations that work to ensure adequate funding for conservation and restoration projects around the state. PARC was instrumental in the passage of the Growing Greener bond. In addition to the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, PARC groups include Audubon Pennsylvania, the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter, the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, PennFuture, the Pennsylvania Parks and Recreation Society, Clean Water Action, PennEnvironment and local and regional land trusts such as the Montgomery County Land Trust and the Natural Lands Trust.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jul 10, 2007
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