HARRISBURG) — Area farmers and small businesses can now apply for state grants to undertake pollution prevention, energy efficiency and natural resource protection projects, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25), of Brockway.

Scarnati said the Small Business Advantage grants are being offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). For the first time, grants will be available to farmers and ranchers for projects that reduce and prevent pollution on working lands.

“I encourage farmers and businesses in my district to take advantage of this opportunity to obtain funding that will help to protect our environment, increase their profitability and enable them to become more energy efficient,” he said.

Natural resource protection projects include the opportunity to plant riparian buffers, install streambank fencing to keep livestock out of streams, and agricultural storm water management projects, with the goal of reducing sediment and nutrient loads in waterways.

Eligible projects are those that adopt or acquire equipment or processes that reduce energy use or pollution. Examples of eligible projects are HVAC and boiler upgrades, high-efficiency lighting, solvent recovery and waste recycling systems, and auxiliary power units deployed as anti-idling technology for trucks. Last year, 150 small businesses were awarded more than $953,000 in grants for their projects.

Pennsylvania-based small business owners with 100 or fewer full-time employees are eligible to apply. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be accepted until fiscal year 2018-19 funds are exhausted, or April 12, 2019, whichever occurs first.

All applications must be submitted through the Commonwealth’s Single Application for Assistance website. Printed, faxed, and mailed applications are not accepted. The complete Grant Application package, which includes step-by-step instructions for completing the online application as well as all related forms, is available by visiting the DEP Small Business Ombudsman’s Office website.

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