DCNR Secretary Message to Stakeholders Re: Budget Share

Dear DCNR Stakeholder,

I write to share some information with you about the fiscal 2012-13 budget proposed by Governor Corbett, which maintains his commitment to balance the state budget by bringing spending in line with available revenues and meeting the state’s obligations without raising taxes.

We, at DCNR, like all other agencies have been called upon to help close the fiscal gap created by national economic conditions.

DCNR’s General Fund budget allocation for fiscal year 2012-13 totals about $52.7 million.   That is about a $2.5 million cut from the current fiscal year.  Similar to last year, DCNR will use about $69 million from the Oil and Gas Lease Fund generated by rents and royalties to offset General Fund allocations for our state park, forest and other government operations.

The Governor’s budget does not require support from an additional lease of state forest lands for gas activity.  DCNR will continue to monitor current activity and adapt our management practices based on what we are learning.

Through creativity and reallocation of funding sources to cover our most pressing needs, we don’t anticipate having to close any state parks or seeing a change in our Bureau of Forestry staff that is monitoring natural gas extraction and the future health of our state forests.

The budget proposes transferring about $30 million of Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund revenues from DCNR to the General Fund.  Although we will receive Environmental Stewardship Fund and federal dollars, this transfer would have a significant impact on our Community Conservation Partnership Program grants and maintenance of state park and forest infrastructure in the next fiscal year.

We are still trying to learn and analyze how this loss will affect the department, and to determine if there are additional resources that may come from the finalization of the Marcellus Shale impact fee legislation.

Our goal is to continue to look to existing and future unfilled vacancies to meet any staff reductions that may be required by a final budget.

Of course, this is just the beginning of the budget process so nothing is definite.  However, in the face of fewer resources, we will look to focus on our core mission with proven programs and approaches, including well-managed forests; high management standards for our award-winning state parks; and the regional approach outlined in our Conservation Landscape Initiative.

When budget times get tougher, we are all the more aware of how important our stakeholders and partners are in helping conserve Pennsylvania’s natural resources and in helping DCNR carry out our core mission. We welcome your ideas, your efforts through public-private partnerships, and your volunteer assistance as we work to deliver the best conservation we can for the Commonwealth.

Sincerely,

Richard J. Allan, Secretary

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