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Conservation funding support letter to state Legislature

HAROLD DAUB

Harrisburg

Honorable Pennsylvania Senators and Representatives: On behalf of the affiliated state organizations, sportsmen/conservation clubs, and individual members comprising the over 60,000 Pennsylvania conservationists represented by the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen & Conservationists, I write to you today to express our support for the Keystone Recreation Park & Conservation Fund, the Environmental Stewardship Fund, and all other conservation-focused funds held by the State Treasury.

The PFSC views these funds as critical to the continued protection and promotion of cleaner environments, improved habitat and ensuring user access to our wild places in Pennsylvania, benefiting all wildlife and citizens of Pennsylvania and providing vital tourism interest from neighboring states.

The financial benefit of combining the dollars raised privately and matching governmental funding sources results in a force multiplier that often exceeds $3 for every $1 contributed by the general fund to the various conservation funds. As you work through a difficult budget, we ask that you please refrain from cutting or removing any monies from established conservation funds.

PFSC also reminds you of the benefits the funding of the hundreds of “shovel ready” projects provides by employing Pennsylvanians and Pennsylvania’s small businesses and contractors throughout the Commonwealth. Defunding our conservation funds will put Pennsylvanians out of work and impact our citizens’ ability to enjoy the outdoors.

The Pennsylvania Constitution. Article I, Section 27 clearly states: “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.”

Funding of the Environmental Stewardship Fund, Keystone Recreation Park & Conservation Fund and other conservation funds provide for delivering on this constitutional right. We ask you to please ensure they continue to be supported and fully funded in all future Pennsylvania budgets.

(Harold Daub is executive diretor of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen & Conservationists.)

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