Governors Rendell, Kaine, Manchin, O'Malley Sign 'Highlands Action Program' Charter

Accord Seeks to Enhance, Protect Economy, Ecology of Appalachian Highlands



Apr 12, 2007, 01:00 ET from Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania
 Governor Edward G. Rendell, Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine, West
 Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III and Maryland Governor Martin J. O'Malley
 today announced the signing of the Highlands Action Program charter, a
 regional partnership that seeks to preserve the ecological and cultural
 resources of the Mid-Atlantic Appalachian Highlands.
     "The mid-Atlantic region offers an array of recreational opportunities
 and thousands of acres of public lands that draw visitors from throughout
 the world, yet also supports robust timber, agriculture and mining
 industries that have been the mainstay of our economy since colonial
 times," Governor Rendell said. "Our challenge is to seek common ground and
 develop policies that will manage the many demands on this land while
 preserving the natural beauty and heritage of the Appalachian Mountains."
     In 2001, Congress directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to
 implement the Highlands Action Program. At the urging of Rep. Alan B.
 Mollohan (D-WV), the Environmental Protection Agency, in consultation with
 the states, created the Highlands Action Program to work with
 community-based programs to revitalize the region's ecosystem, create
 long-term employment opportunities and improve the quality of life for
 people who live in and visit the multi- state region.
     "The Appalachian Highlands region is a unique area, both from a
 cultural and ecological standpoint. It has species and landscapes found
 nowhere else in the world," Governor Kaine said. "I am pleased to join with
 these Appalachian region governors to support efforts to restore
 ecologically damaged areas, and to work together to improve the region's
 economic viability."
     "In the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, people have always had
 a direct connection to the natural resources around them," Governor Manchin
 said. "We understand that job creation and long-term economic stability go
 hand-in-hand with improving and maintaining our rich natural and cultural
 resources. West Virginia is pleased to partner with other Highlands states
 on restoration initiatives to improve natural resources and build a more
 diverse economic base for the region."
     "In Maryland, we welcome the creation of a program that is
 community-based and connects the economic and environmental future of the
 Highlands. This effort is especially important since the region's natural
 resources were crucial to the establishment of our great nation," said
 Governor O'Malley.
     Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia have committed to
 help link communities, non-governmental organizations, local, state, and
 federal governments, and businesses to:
       -- Highlight places of ecological and cultural importance;
       -- Revitalize damaged ecosystems;
       -- Empower citizens and communities to strengthen linkages among
          cultural heritage, economic viability, and the environment;
       -- Enhance restoration industry opportunities providing lasting
          employment for highland residents; and
       -- Leverage existing funds.
     States will focus on enhancing "green infrastructure" as a basis for
 targeting restoration and protection. Green infrastructure refers to the
 network of hubs and corridors that are essential to maintaining the health
 of natural ecosystems and resource-based working lands.
     In Pennsylvania, the Blue Mountain/ Kittatinny Ridge Conservation
 Project is guiding the conservation efforts of 24 partner agencies and
 organizations to establish a comprehensive corridor of protected lands for
 the ridge through Pennsylvania, a globally-important migration flyway for
 hawks and eagles.
     Also, the Appalachian Trail Protection Initiative is helping the
 Appalachian Trail Conference with its effort to focus public attention on
 the Appalachian Trail through Pennsylvania, and to identify ways to
 increase protection measures on lands adjacent to the trail.
     In Virginia, the Highlands Action Program is working with partners on
 Blacks Run, a degraded stream in Harrisonburg. In West Virginia, initial
 efforts have focused on Abram's Creek and the Coal River. And in Maryland,
 a Highlands Environmental Leadership Program for high school students has
 been created, along with a state park 'greening' project and a fish passage
 project on Cash Valley Run in La Vale.
     The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public
 education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing
 economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out
 more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly
 newsletter, visit his Web site at: http://www.governor.state.pa.us.
     EDITOR'S NOTE: A Highlands Action Program region map can be viewed at
 state.pa.us
 
     CONTACT:
     Mark Shade, PA                 Rick Abbruzzese, MD
     717-783-1116                   410-974-2316
     mshade@state.pa.us             443-336-1556
 
     Maurice Henderson, VA          Matt Turner, WV
     804-692-2548                   304-558-3848
     804-291-8977                   304-741-3141
 
 

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania
 Governor Edward G. Rendell, Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine, West
 Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III and Maryland Governor Martin J. O'Malley
 today announced the signing of the Highlands Action Program charter, a
 regional partnership that seeks to preserve the ecological and cultural
 resources of the Mid-Atlantic Appalachian Highlands.
     "The mid-Atlantic region offers an array of recreational opportunities
 and thousands of acres of public lands that draw visitors from throughout
 the world, yet also supports robust timber, agriculture and mining
 industries that have been the mainstay of our economy since colonial
 times," Governor Rendell said. "Our challenge is to seek common ground and
 develop policies that will manage the many demands on this land while
 preserving the natural beauty and heritage of the Appalachian Mountains."
     In 2001, Congress directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to
 implement the Highlands Action Program. At the urging of Rep. Alan B.
 Mollohan (D-WV), the Environmental Protection Agency, in consultation with
 the states, created the Highlands Action Program to work with
 community-based programs to revitalize the region's ecosystem, create
 long-term employment opportunities and improve the quality of life for
 people who live in and visit the multi- state region.
     "The Appalachian Highlands region is a unique area, both from a
 cultural and ecological standpoint. It has species and landscapes found
 nowhere else in the world," Governor Kaine said. "I am pleased to join with
 these Appalachian region governors to support efforts to restore
 ecologically damaged areas, and to work together to improve the region's
 economic viability."
     "In the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, people have always had
 a direct connection to the natural resources around them," Governor Manchin
 said. "We understand that job creation and long-term economic stability go
 hand-in-hand with improving and maintaining our rich natural and cultural
 resources. West Virginia is pleased to partner with other Highlands states
 on restoration initiatives to improve natural resources and build a more
 diverse economic base for the region."
     "In Maryland, we welcome the creation of a program that is
 community-based and connects the economic and environmental future of the
 Highlands. This effort is especially important since the region's natural
 resources were crucial to the establishment of our great nation," said
 Governor O'Malley.
     Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia have committed to
 help link communities, non-governmental organizations, local, state, and
 federal governments, and businesses to:
       -- Highlight places of ecological and cultural importance;
       -- Revitalize damaged ecosystems;
       -- Empower citizens and communities to strengthen linkages among
          cultural heritage, economic viability, and the environment;
       -- Enhance restoration industry opportunities providing lasting
          employment for highland residents; and
       -- Leverage existing funds.
     States will focus on enhancing "green infrastructure" as a basis for
 targeting restoration and protection. Green infrastructure refers to the
 network of hubs and corridors that are essential to maintaining the health
 of natural ecosystems and resource-based working lands.
     In Pennsylvania, the Blue Mountain/ Kittatinny Ridge Conservation
 Project is guiding the conservation efforts of 24 partner agencies and
 organizations to establish a comprehensive corridor of protected lands for
 the ridge through Pennsylvania, a globally-important migration flyway for
 hawks and eagles.
     Also, the Appalachian Trail Protection Initiative is helping the
 Appalachian Trail Conference with its effort to focus public attention on
 the Appalachian Trail through Pennsylvania, and to identify ways to
 increase protection measures on lands adjacent to the trail.
     In Virginia, the Highlands Action Program is working with partners on
 Blacks Run, a degraded stream in Harrisonburg. In West Virginia, initial
 efforts have focused on Abram's Creek and the Coal River. And in Maryland,
 a Highlands Environmental Leadership Program for high school students has
 been created, along with a state park 'greening' project and a fish passage
 project on Cash Valley Run in La Vale.
     The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public
 education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing
 economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out
 more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly
 newsletter, visit his Web site at: http://www.governor.state.pa.us.
     EDITOR'S NOTE: A Highlands Action Program region map can be viewed at
 state.pa.us
 
     CONTACT:
     Mark Shade, PA                 Rick Abbruzzese, MD
     717-783-1116                   410-974-2316
     mshade@state.pa.us             443-336-1556
 
     Maurice Henderson, VA          Matt Turner, WV
     804-692-2548                   304-558-3848
     804-291-8977                   304-741-3141
 
 SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor