State Budget

Below is an itemized list (as of 2015) of the cuts and diversions from environmental funding, totaling over $1.8 billion, over the last 12 years:

— $635 million in Act 339 grants intended to support wastewater plant operations over the last 10 years were eliminated to balance the budget ($52 million or so each year);

— $143 million diverted from the DCNR Oil and Gas Fund to balance the FY 2008-09 budget;

— $79 million cut from the DEP and DCNR General Fund budget during FY2009-10;

— $60 million diverted from the DCNR Oil and Gas Fund to balance the FY 2009-10 budget;

— $100 million in 2002 from the Underground Storage Tank cleanup insurance fund to balance the budget (although this is slowly being repaid over 10 years);

— $52.7 million “one-time” diversion from the Keystone Recreation, Parks and Conservation Fund in 2006 to balance the budget;

— $50 million in 2007 and 2008 from the Environmental Stewardship Fund, which supports mine reclamation and watershed restoration, to fund the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program because there was no agreement on how to fund that program;

— $285.7 million in FY 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 from the Environmental Stewardship Fund to pay debt service on the Growing Greener II bond issue and taking funding away from restoration projects each year for the next 25 years – reflecting a pattern of only environmental programs being required to address their own bond debt service;

— $15 million from the Recycling Fund in to balance the FY 2008-09 budget;

— $18.4 million put into budgetary reserve in 2008-09 from the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources;

— $5 million reduction in Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) farm conservation tax credit program in FY 2009-10;

— $102.8 million cut from the DEP and DCNR General Fund budget in FY 2010-11 budget;

— $180 million diverted from the DCNR Oil and Gas Fund to General Fund in proposed FY 2010-11 budget;

— $5.5 million reduction in Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) farm conservation tax credits in FY 2010-11;

— $5 million in additional cuts to the agencies to balance the FY 2010-11 budget;

— $3.9 million in across-the-board cuts to help fill gaps caused by reduced federal Medicaid appropriations– $2.4 million from DEP, $1.5 million from DCNR;

— $669,000 from the Safe Water line item in DEP’s budget;

— $102.8 million cut continued from the FY 2010-11 DEP and DCNR General Fund budget in FY 2011-12 budget;

— $8.3 million Mid-year budget freeze cuts additional resources for environmental programs: Agriculture: $2.6 million; DCNR: $1.5 million; and DEP: $4.2 million;

— FY 2012-13 budget eliminated $11.8 million in General Fund monies from DEP, and $2.5 million from DCNR;

— FY 2012-13 budget continued the $102.8 million cut made by Gov. Rendell beginning in FY 2010-11;

— FY 2012-13 budget for the State System of Higher Education zeroed out funding again for the PA Center for Environmental Education ($368,000) and McKeever Environmental Center ($213,000);

— FY 2013-14 budget continued the $102.8 million cut made by Gov. Rendell beginning in FY 2010-11;

— FY 2013-14 budget for the State System of Higher Education zeroed out funding again for the PA Center for Environmental Education ($368,000) and McKeever Environmental Center ($213,000);

— FY 2013-14 budget diverted $106.5 million from the Oil and Gas Fund to support DCNR  operations;

— FY 2014-15 budget diverted $73 million from the Oil and Gas Fund to support DCNR  operations. [While still funding environmental programs, this transfer takes funds away from supporting long-term investments in the environment to funding day-to-day operations.  It also raises a concern over whether it is sustainable without forcing additional leasing of state forest lands for natural gas drilling.]

— FY 2014-15 budget diverted another $95 million in royalties and payments from the Oil and Gas Fund to balance the state budget;

— FY 2014-15 budget diverted $20 million from State Forest Timber operations to balance the state budget;

— FY 2014-15 budget diverted $6.2 million from the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Fund to balance the state budget;

— FY 2014-15 budget continued the $102.8 million cut made by Gov. Rendell beginning in FY 2010-11;

— FY 2014-15 budget for the State System of Higher Education zeroed out funding again for the PA Center for Environmental Education ($368,000) and McKeever Environmental Center ($213,000); and

— FY 2014-15 budget cut $500,000 for Delaware River Basin Commission.

Reprinted with permission from PA Environmental Digest (a service of Crisci Associates)