PA DEP budget: halved in a decade

A five percent hit for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's budget this year is one thing.

A chopping in half over the last decade is quite another.

A group of legislators and environmental organizations have taken a look at the DEP budget and tallied the losses.

It has suffered cuts in each of the last five years. Current funding is 59 percent of what it was in 2000-2001, under Gov. Ridge, they said.

Meanwhile, with the responsibilities of monitoring natural gas drilling, the workload has only increased.

"To fail to restore DEP’s budget is to establish a deliberate policy of weakening protection for clean water and clean air in our state," said Myron Arnowitt, PA State Director for Clean Water Action, one of the groups doing the analysis.

Others participating in a press conference opposing the cuts included the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter, PennEnvironment and Conservation Voters.