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Santorum, Casey to Speak at PA Environmental Council Dinner June 6

Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum and his Democratic challenger State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr. will be keynote speakers at the 36th annual dinner of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council in Philadelphia on June 6.

Michael DiBerardinis, Secretary of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, is a special guest for the evening and will provide comments before dinner on elevating the value of natural resource conservation in Pennsylvania.

The dinner chairman is John Westrum of the Westrum Development Company.

“From reauthorization of the federal abandoned mine reclamation program, conservation issues in the 2007 Farm Bill, to restoring proposed cuts to federal environmental programs, Pennsylvania has a huge stake in the decisions made by the U.S. Congress,” said Brian J. Hill, President and CEO of the Council. “This is a great opportunity to speak to over 450 individuals, companies, local and state officials interested in environmental issues.”

“Dinner attendees will also have the opportunity to ask their own questions of the candidates during the dinner by submitting written questions,” said Hill.

Rick Santorum, 46, has served as one of Pennsylvania’s two U.S. Senators since 1994. He is prime sponsor of legislation to reauthorize the federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, helped create the Farmland Preservation Program in the 1996 Farm Bill and secured federal funding for the first coal-to-liquid fuel plant in the U.S. in Schuylkill County.

Bob Casey, Jr., 46, has been Pennsylvania’s State Treasurer since 2005 and previously served two terms as State Auditor General and his efforts have led to over $1 billion in savings to state taxpayers. He has identified increased funding for brownfields cleanup, reinstating the “polluter-pays” principle in the federal Superfund Program and reducing dependence on foreign oil as major environmental issues. He opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Here are just a few of the federal environmental issues faced by Pennsylvania in the coming years:

Abandoned Mines. Pennsylvania has over 184,000 acres of abandoned mines and 4,000 miles of mine polluted streams, the most of any state. The fee supporting the federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, now the single largest source of reclamation funding in the state, is due to expire on June 30 unless Congress acts.

2007 Farm Bill. Listening sessions held by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Bay Commission found that Pennsylvania farmers said more financial support from the federal Farm Bill to install conservation practices on their farms was a priority. Pennsylvania farmers now receive less than one-third of the national average of support under the federal Farm Bill.

Funding Cuts. States stand to lose over $416 million in support from the federal government for clean air, clean water and other environmental programs states administer on behalf of the federal government and funding for wastewater and drinking water projects is also proposed to be cut by over $900 million.

The dinner will be held at the Hyatt Penn’s Landing, 201 S. Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.. For information, contact Carol Meyers, PEC’s Philadelphia office at 215-592-7020 ext. 100 or send email to: cmeyers@pecpa.org .


5/26/2006

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