PHILADELPHIA – November 3, 2021 – Senators Anthony H. Williams (D-Delaware/Philadelphia), Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester), and Amanda Cappelletti (D-Delaware/Montgomery) joined state Rep. Regina Young (D-Delaware/Philadelphia), the Overbrook Environmental Education Center, Conservation Voters of PA, and PennFuture today to call for a portion of the $7 billion in ARP funding to be used for clean water projects in Pennsylvania. Dedicated funding for clean water projects is necessary to address systemic environmental concerns in local communities.
“It is mind boggling to me that instead of utilizing available funding, Republicans have decided to put away $7 billion instead of addressing dire problems facing our communities like basic clean water. Now is the time to use this funding, not a rainy day. This is an issue that effects rural, urban, and suburban communities and it must be addressed now to avoid even bigger problems in the future,” said Sen. Williams.
To support clean water infrastructure in Pennsylvania, multiple pieces of bipartisan legislation have been introduced.
Senate Bill 525, Growing Greener 3, is a continuation of a program started in 1999 by then Governor Tom Ridge. The third iteration of this program would invest in Pennsylvania waterways, parks, communities, and farms. Pennsylvania state parks would benefit the most from an investment of ARP funds as they are currently facing a $1 billion backlog of projects.
“Access to clean, safe, affordable water benefits all Pennsylvanians. A strong, modern water infrastructure benefits all Pennsylvania communities. As we continue to face the challenges of this evolving pandemic and the growing impacts of climate change, we must invest in our streams, waterways, and water infrastructure. We have the funds now and we should do it now for our communities, our kids, and the future of the Commonwealth,” said Sen. Comitta.
Legislation to create a “Clean Streams Fund” would include $250 million of ARP funding and would create a dedicated fund that could be used to both modernize urban stormwater and sewage infrastructure and bolster its effectiveness with green stormwater infrastructure across the state.
“Our aging water infrastructure is one of the many challenges we face in Pennsylvania. We need to invest now to right the course and address any long-term health and environmental impacts on the Commonwealth’s residents. We have over $7 billion in American Rescue Plan Funds sitting in Harrisburg. There is no better use for those dollars than ensuring Pennsylvanians have access to safe, clean drinking water,” said Sen. Cappelletti.
Rep. Young continued, “We need to take a deeper dive on how our climate is affecting our communities. People power can affect the environmental justice movement.”