Washington County is one of five southwestern Pennsylvania counties to receive a large portion of a state fund set aside by Marcellus Shale drilling fees to promote local conservation efforts.
“These grants will help fund the important work of county conservation districts,” state Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg, said. “Learning better ways to use and save resources while teaching stewardship to citizens is an important part of our effort to preserve and improve the environment of the region.”
The grants will be dispersed from the Unconventional Gas Well Fund, created under Act 13 of 2012 to help all county conservation districts continue their services, with a special emphasis on those that host Marcellus Shale gas wells.
Conservation districts statewide will equally share $1.5 million through block grants, while another $1.5 million is distributed through a formula that considers the number of gas wells in a region.
The Washington County Conservation District will receive a total of $83,758, the third highest amount in the state. Greene County will receive $69,871.
Pennsylvania’s conservation districts were created in 1945 to work across various departments in state government as well as with private businesses, farmers and educators to encourage resource-friendly planning and to educate the community on the best ways to preserve natural resources.
Act 13 created the first dedicated funding source for conservation districts.
Westmoreland County will receive $50,341 from the fund, while Allegheny and Beaver counties will each receive just over $34,000.
The total for all five counties is $272,311.