The FY 2009-10 budget cuts alone required DEP and DCNR to furlough or eliminate 333 full time positions. DCNR had to eliminate or reduce hours for 1,131 seasonal workers, putting appropriations for DEP at 1994 levels and for DCNR at 1995-96 levels.
Complement levels at DEP were reduced from 3,211 in FY 2002-03 to 2,835 now, even less if you take out the 105 positions DEP added for the Marcellus Shale drilling inspection and permit program. 2,591 of the present 2,835 are now filled positions, the others are vacant.
In addition, over 100 DEP Air, Waste and Water Quality field staff use all or part of their time to act as managers for federal stimulus projects, projects funded by the Energy Harvest and PA Energy Development Authority programs taking time away from permit reviews, inspections and compliance activities.
Complement levels at DCNR were 1,391 in FY 2002-03 to 1,389 positions of which 1,289 positions are filled.
During the last eight years of the Rendell Administration, DEP's General Fund budget has been cut by 40.9 percent ($245.6 million to $147 million), DCNR by 23.7 percent ($108.8 million to $82.4 million) and the Department of Agriculture by 35.2 percent ($76.1 million to $62.8 million) from the FY 2010-11 to FY 2002-03 budget.
One result of all these cuts is the permit review backlog DEP said was already building in 2009 and in truth the last 7 years, delaying hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development projects across the state.
Record Of Funding Cuts/Diversions
A total of $1.3 billion has been diverted or cut from environmental programs to help balance the state budget or to fund programs that could not get funding on their own over the last eight years.
-- $428 million in Act 339 grants intended to support wastewater plant operations over the last eight years were eliminated to balance the budget;
-- $143 million diverted from the DCNR Oil and Gas Fund to balance the FY 2008-09 budget;
-- $79 million cut from the DEP and DCNR General Fund budget during FY2009-10;
-- $60 million diverted from the DCNR Oil and Gas Fund to balance the FY 2009-10 budget;
-- $100 million in 2002 from the Underground Storage Tank cleanup insurance fund to balance the budget (although this is slowly being repaid over 10 years);
-- $52.7 million “one-time” diversion from the Keystone Recreation, Parks and Conservation Fund in 2006 to balance the budget;
-- $50 million in 2007 and 2008 from the Environmental Stewardship Fund, which supports mine reclamation and watershed restoration, to fund the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program because there was no agreement on how to fund that program;
-- $121.8 million in FY 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 from the Environmental Stewardship Fund to pay debt service on the Growing Greener II bond issue and taking funding away from restoration projects each year for the next 25 years – reflecting a pattern of only environmental programs being required to address their own bond debt service;
-- $15 million from the Recycling Fund in to balance the FY 2008-09 budget;
-- $18.4 million put into budgetary reserve in 2008-09 from the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources;
-- $5 million reduction in Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) farm conservation tax credit program in FY 2009-10;
-- $102.8 million cut from the DEP and DCNR General Fund budget in proposed FY 2010-11 budget;
-- $180 million diverted from the DCNR Oil and Gas Fund to General Fund in proposed FY 2010-11 budget;
-- $5.5 million reduction in Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) farm conservation tax credits in FY 2010-11;
-- $5 million in additional cuts to the agencies to balance the FY 2010-11 budget; and
-- $3.9 million in across-the-board cuts to help fill gaps caused by reduced federal Medicaid appropriations-- $2.4 million from DEP, $1.5 million from DCNR.
Ridge and Schweiker Administrations