Growing Greener has done more than preserve Pennsylvania’s land, water and air. It has contributed billions of dollars to the Pennsylvania economy in jobs, taxes, tourism, and other revenue. Renewing and expanding funding for Growing Greener is an essential investment in the state’s long-term prosperity.
Generate Jobs & Strengthen Local Economies
Preserving natural areas and open spaces, improving state parks, and enhancing local recreational needs provides recreation opportunities for residents and visitors and generates revenue and jobs in the local economy. Approximately 4.7 million residents and non-residents fish, hunt, or enjoy wildlife watching in Pennsylvania. These outdoor enthusiasts spend $5.4 billion in the Commonwealth annually.
Cleaning up rivers and streams and remediating serious environmental problems at abandoned mines and contaminated industrial sites creates jobs and generates direct spending (e.g. materials and wages) as well as substantial indirect spending (e.g. food and other household items). For example, full remediation of abandoned mine drainage pollution in the West Branch Susquehanna River is expected to create up to 185 new permanent jobs and up to 5,890 temporary jobs, and to generate indirect spending of up to $817 million within the Commonwealth.
Provide Clean Water & Reduce Water Treatment Costs
Protecting drinking water sources assures the continued supply of clean drinking water at low cost and reduces or sometimes even eliminates water treatment costs. The City of Philadelphia has found that source water protection is the most viable and cost-effective means of handling present and emerging sources of pollution.
Remediating abandoned mine drainage reduces or avoids costly drinking water treatments downstream. More than $11 million has been spent to bring clean water to residences and businesses within the West Branch Susquehanna River watershed whose drinking water has been polluted by abandoned mine drainage.
Reduce Local Taxes
Protecting farmland and open space saves local governments money. Development imposes costs on communities in the form of increased demand for schools, roads, water, sewer and other community services – costs that usually exceed related tax revenue. Recent experience in eight Pennsylvania townships found that on average, farmland and open space require $0.15 in services for every $1 paid in local taxes compared to $1.15 in services for every $1 paid in local taxes for the average home.
Enhance & Protect Property Values
Parks, natural areas and protected open space increase the value of nearby homes. Property owners benefit from higher property values and local governments benefit from an increased tax base. In 2007, it was calculated that the park system in Philadelphia increases the market value of residential properties by $689 million, generating an additional $18.1 million annually in property taxes.
Clean-up of abandoned mine drainage protects the value of nearby homes. In Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, the total value lost by owners of the 2,730 parcels within 200 feet of impacted streams is estimated at more than $4.08 million.
Support the Forest Products, Agriculture Industries & Rural Communities
Forest conservation helps sustain the resources that the forest products industry depends on, thus providing an economic boost to rural communities. The forest products industry in Pennsylvania has sales in excess of $16 billion annually, a total economic impact of $27 billion, and employs more than 80,000 people.
Farmland preservation helps sustain the agriculture industry and provides an economic stimulus to rural communities. Agriculture is a leading industry in Pennsylvania, producing over $45 billion annually and providing about 1 in 7 jobs in the state.