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A reusable guide to being one with the earth.

No wonder green is the color of chameleons. Over the years, it’s been associated with envy, money, nausea, friskiness (think green M&Ms), even a rock band. These days, green is the color for everything enviro-friendly—alternative fuels, renewable energy, recycled clothing, furniture, kitchen countertops, building materials, pesticide- and antibiotic-free foods. And that’s just scratching the surface. Green is so hot that being anything less is simply not cool. So instead of painting the town red, why not throw on a hemp outfit and recycled rubber sandals and drive your biodiesel convertible to the hottest restaurant in town—one that serves organic dishes on recycled glass plates prepared in a solar-powered kitchen? If that sounds a little too granola, you haven’t been paying attention. Saving the planet isn’t a hippie thing—it’s a hip thing. You don’t have to see An Inconvenient Truth (though we recommend you do) to know that our billions of years on this earth have put an enormous amount of wear and tear on the environment. Chances are you’ve already made some changes in your daily life to help alleviate the strain. For those who haven’t, a good time to start would be Earth Day (April 22). As for the rest of us, we can always do more. And with MLT’s help, you’ll be well armed to take on the world.
 


Growth Industry
Community supported agriculture in the western suburbs is starting to reap more than it sows.

Chester County community supported agriculture is finally getting the attention it deserves, and local farmers and restaurateurs get all the credit. Chefs like Sean Weinberg of Restaurant Alba in Malvern and Patrick Feury of Nectar in Berwyn are showing support by purchasing locally and showcasing these high-quality, organic ingredients on their menus. But it’s the farmers—Sue Kilpatrick (pictured above) of Charlestown Cooperative Farm, Karen Vollmecke of Vollmecke Orchards, Sam Cantrell of Maysie’s Farm and others—who are giving those ingredients life.

It’s an enormous job caring for 60-plus varieties of vegetables, along with fruit crops and flowers. Simply put, organic farming is a tough job. The pay isn’t nearly as good as a doctor’s, but the on-call hours are comparable. In many ways, running a farm is like being a domestic engineer and a CEO at the same time. It can be a multi-tasking nightmare, and when you’re following sustainable guidelines, there’s no cutting corners.

But if you live by the expression “you reap what you sow,” a little inconvenience goes a long way. “Organic growers trade convenience for maintenance and observation skills,” says Vollmecke. “But if you operate under the belief that all systems are connected, sustainable agriculture is of the utmost importance in terms of the environment.”

Vollmecke should know. Last November, the Chester County Agricultural Development Council recognized her as Farmer of the Year. And while none of us should be doomed to a diet of pesticides and synthetic fertilizer, the real benefits of CSA are ecological.

Sustainable agriculture’s mantra is that whatever is taken out of the environment is put back in. Water, soil and air are replenished so they’ll be available for future generations, and the waste stays within the farm’s ecosystem, eliminating buildup or pollution. Cover cropping decreases the chance of erosion and loss of topsoil, and acts as a green manure when the crops are tilled in spring. In addition, healthy soil rich in organic matter has a greater capacity to retain moisture, which helps conserve water.

Keeping things as locally based as possible helps minimize transportation costs and fossil fuel use, while rotating different types of plants and animals around the fields enriches the soil and helps prevent disease and pest outbreaks. (Chemical pesticides are used minimally and only when necessary, and many sustainable farms are chemical free.)

At Charlestown Cooperative Farm, technological advances such as a solar-powered hoop house—a 100- by 30-foot structure constructed with metal hoops covered by two layers of clear plastic and heated by a corn furnace—create a controlled micro-climate, extending the growing season and saving energy. Burning corn is considered a carbon-neutral process: As it grows, it takes in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Then, when it’s burned, it emits the same amount of carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. Environmentally sustainable and energy-efficient, this process is also cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives. Through the winter growing season, the burning of corn should save between 1,000 and 1,500 gallons of home heating oil.

Chester County is fortunate to have both non-certified and certified organic farms, all open to the public. But as their popularity has grown, so have the waiting lists. Charlestown Cooperative won’t be open to new members until 2008—proof that great taste, increased nutrition, value and a concern for the environment are at the top of many of our grocery lists. “We’re very thankful that people would choose to spend their food dollars with us,” says Vollmecke.

Buying organic in the grocery store can be a bit threatening in terms of price, but when you break it down, the savings through a local co-op like Charlestown are notable. For new members, a season’s (22 weeks) worth of produce costs $650, or approximately $30 a week. A typical season runs from June to November, but with the hoop house, it could be even longer.

“We’re so used to buying cheap food,” says Kilpatrick. “But it’s not proportionate to the damage being done to the environment; $1.50 for a head of iceberg lettuce isn’t going to cover it. And cheap food isn’t necessarily good for you.” At the start of the growing season, shares of that year’s harvest are sold to members of the community. Pickup hours vary among the farms, but generally it’s a simple process—no more challenging and far more stimulating than the supermarket. “Once people taste the difference—especially in things like carrots and eggs—they’re hooked,” says Kilpatrick.
Dawn E. Warden


 

 

EARTH ANGEL: Teaching Awareness

Mike Weilbacher’s isn’t your typical Main Line back yard. Instead of grass, the Merion Station resident has a native wildflower garden. Black-eyed Susans and asters cover the ground, with not a blade of grass in sight. “I ripped out my lawn,” he says. “Grass is like concrete, while gardens absorb water. Plus, there’s no mowing—meaning there’s no fossil fuels from the lawnmower. I had my lawnmower recycled in an iron scrap. Neighbors think I’m wacky.”

By day, Weilbacher leads the fight against environmental irresponsibility as executive director of Lower Merion Conservancy. But off the job, he just wants to unwind. “I’m not the green police,” he tells friends, who often apologize for serving food on paper plates or using plastic cups at dinner parties. “It’s fine.”

You might also know Weilbacher as “Mike the Science Guy” from WXPN’s Kid’s Corner, a keynote speaker and workshop leader for various environmental issues and a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including E: The Environmental Magazine, Learning and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Yet Weilbacher doesn’t see himself as an environmentalist. “I consider myself a naturalist—someone who studies nature,” he says. “There’s something genetically embedded in me that needs to be outdoors in nature.”

Nonetheless, that fascination got Weilbacher into environmental work at a young age. He volunteered for clean-up projects at local parks and later helped found the ecology club in high school. “I began reading about environmental problems in the sixth or seventh grade, when they really became mainstream,” he says. “Something captivated me, and I’ve been involved ever since.”

After high school, Weilbacher majored in science and environmental education at Cornell University, then went on to earn an M.S. from the University of Michigan. His thesis: “A Case Study of the Performing Arts as Environmental Education.” From there, he got involved in all sorts of environmental jobs, working everywhere from summer camps to radio stations (he was host of WHYY’s Earth Talk). Over the years, Weilbacher has preached the importance of environmental sensitivity to more than 100,000 kids and adults at various parks and nature centers.

Today, one of the most pressing issues for Weilbacher and many others is global warming. “CO2 has been increasing for as long as it has been measured. It is an indisputable fact—not opinion—that CO2 levels are increasing,” he says. “That’s why all of the warmest years on record are recent years. What confuses people is actually factual information—there are piles of it. But when you put it all together, we’re fools not to notice.”

Even more daunting, Weilbacher asserts, is the impact global warming might have on the economy.

“This winter has unnerved everybody. People can see the climate changing,” he says. “It will have a huge impact on the economy. We’re talking about losing several major countries as floodwaters rise. All coastal ports are in trouble, including New York City. Because of this, where we grow food will change. Iowa won’t be able to grow corn anymore. We’ll have to shift where crops are grown. It can be done, but the restructuring process will take an economic toll.”

To face the problem head-on, one needn’t go any further than our own neighborhoods. “My wife just got a Honda Civic Hybrid,” Weilbacher says. “Hybrids are important, but not the end-all, be-all.” To limit household waste, says Weilbacher, “the best thing you can do is recycle your guts out. It’s the easiest and most effective way to conserve.”

And keep those tires inflated and use compact fluorescent light bulbs. “Easy adjustments can be made. We don’t have to live in caves,” says Weilbacher.

Or scrap our lawnmowers.
—Benjamin Berliner
 

 


 

EARTH ANGEL: Solar Sister

Sarah Hetznecker is a sun worshipper—but not in a bikini-clad, baby oil kind of way. This votary gets her kicks transforming those soothing rays into a valuable commodity, helping your wallet and Mother Nature in the process. Peddling solar energy has proven to be a lucrative and satisfying endeavor for this environmental professional—very much a labor of love and an immense source of pride.

Before Hetznecker fell under the spell of solar power, she worked as a geologist, immersing herself in ground-water issues and remediation. In 1996, her environmental leanings and formidable networking skills led her to form the Society of Women Environmental Professionals, an organization with gender, ecological jobs and green politics in common. One of the group’s goals is finding ways to conserve energy.

“So many of our environmental issues suddenly seemed to be handled, but when you looked deeper, it became clear that the real cause of our environmental issues was—and still is—tied to our choices and uses of energy,” says Hetznecker. Hetznecker’s infatuation with solar energy blossomed into a serious commitment in 2000 after she attended a conference hosted by Penn Futures. The platform: renewable energy.

A year before, she and her husband, Gary Sheehan, had co-founded Mesa Environmental Sciences, a Malvern-based environmental consulting firm. Having gleaned the importance of energy conservation and its impact on the global environment, Hetznecker took things to the next level, addressing the energy needs of commercial, residential and agricultural clients through customized solar photovoltaic system design and installation.

In layman’s terms, solar energy is defined as energy from the sun that’s converted into thermal or electrical energy using photovoltaic or solar cells. Photovoltaic cells are semiconductor devices typically made of silicon; they contain no liquids, corrosive chemicals or moving parts. They produce electricity as long as light shines on them, and they require little maintenance, operate silently and don’t pollute. All of that makes PV energy the cleanest, safest method of power generation. A five-kilowatt photovoltaic electric system can serve up to 75 percent of a home’s electric needs and eliminate 14,753 pounds of carbon dioxide, 20.6 pounds of nitrous oxide and 81.6 pounds of sulfites per year, on average. A photovoltaic electric system’s appeal today lies in the increased availability of grid-tied systems. The no-battery-required technology adds invisibility, and aside from the physical panels—either roof- or ground-mounted—“you don’t even know it’s happening,” says Hetznecker.

What matters most to consumers are the benefits to the environment and, of course, their utility bills. Legislative measures in the form of tax and renewable energy credits are helping make such alternative energy forms more affordable. But unlike Pennsylvania, a leader in renewable energy initiatives, not every state has bucked up. Mesa follows the market, installing in states with rebates and incentives. (For legislation updates, visit desireusa.org.)

Hetznecker’s list of clients includes Gov. Ed Rendell’s residence in Harrisburg, French Creek Vineyards in Elverson, Stargazer’s Winery in Unionville, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education and Charlestown Cooperative Farm. “Mesa has become a leader in the industry,” says Hetznecker. “And I’ve become clearer about my business niche and sense of purpose.”
Dawn E. Warden
 

 


 

EARTH ANGEL: In the Flow

Maya K. van Rossum spent her first Mother’s Day walking through the pouring rain with an 8-month-old baby dangling around her neck, trying to convince residents of a New Jersey community by the Delaware River to attend a hearing about Route 29, a proposed truck route along the river’s New Jersey side in South Trenton. It was a solid day’s work for the Delaware Riverkeeper—and one of many.

“You’re involved with every aspect of it—that means knocking on doors, testifying, talking to the press, arguing with politicians,” says the Radnor attorney turned advocate. “If you’re going to work with a community, you have to really work with a community.”

Despite van Rossum’s efforts, Route 29 was built, destroying a significant part of the Delaware River habitat and cutting off community access to the river. Not that such setbacks have deterred her one bit.

As the voice of the river, van Rossum represents her client in court, at public hearings, in writing and online at delawareriverkeeper.org. Any place where decisions are made that might affect the river, you’ll find van Rossum arguing her client’s case. After all, the river can’t speak for itself. “I got to achieve my life dream,” says van Rossum, who came to the Bristol-based non-profit Delaware River Network in 1994. “I have no intentions of going anywhere else.”

To this day, van Rossum meets people living near Route 29 and the conversation turns to that “horrible highway.” Usually she finds that she knocked on their door, but they didn’t go to the hearing. And so the highway stands.

“There are a lot of people who come out and fight the good fight, and a lot of people who sit at home and hope someone will fight it for them,” Rossum says. “That’s why I won’t sit in my cushy home. If you’re going to be the voice for the river, you’ve got to be out there fighting for the river every day, all day and in all weathers.”

Van Rossum gets her passion from her mother, who wasn’t an advocate or an environmentalist but was always concerned about the smallest critters and the most insignificant habitats. When neighbors put leaves alongside their garbage cans, van Rossum and her mother collected the bundles and used them in their garden. And when a section of the Blue Route went up near their Villanova home, leaving the woods a muddy mess, the van Rossums and others restored the area. “She taught me to be connected with the environment and really appreciate it,” van Rossum says. “Not through advocacy and talking about the environment—she did it by example.”

As an environmental warrior with two law degrees—one of them in corporate finance from Widener University—van Rossum has battled the likes of PennDOT and the U.S. Army for the DRN, which protects and defends the Delaware River through advocacy and enforcement. Just recently, she won a 17-year fight with the Salem Nuclear Generating Station, which was killing more than three billion fish a year despite having the technology to reduce that number by 95 percent. “I feel the pain of the river,” she says. “I put my heart and soul into every fight no matter how big or small. It’s not just a loss for me; it’s a loss for the river, the little critters, the habitat.”

Here on the Main Line, van Rossum is now grappling with O’Neill Properties over a proposed condominium development at Route 320 and Conestoga Road that threatens downstream communities and Ithan Creek with increased flooding, erosion and pollution. And like every battle she’s involved in, no matter how close to home, it’s one she has every intention of winning. “I can go to bed every single night knowing I made the decision I thought was truly right,” she says. “I never have to second-guess, ‘Did I do something good today?’”
—Corinne Clemetsen
 


 

 

EARTH ANGEL: Veggie Vroom!

Kipp Bachurski drives his ’87 Mercedes-Benz 300SDL about 350 miles a week. In a year, the mechanic for Lower Merion School District would spend $450 commuting to and from work, emitting over 201,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every week—if he were running on gasoline.

But Bachurski collects leftover cooking oil from local restaurants and bars, bringing it home to his basement where he cleans and filters it for fuel. Not only does he get about 30 miles a gallon, he doesn’t pay a cent—and carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by 21 percent.

In fact, vegetable oil contains very little or no polyaromatic hydrocarbons—the source of harmful exhaust—and it hardly contributes at all to greenhouse gas emissions. And by taking all that extra oil off the hands of restaurants, the waste won’t end up in a landfill, sewer trap or stream. “You’re pretty much driving for free,” says Bachurski. “But I do it for both the cost effectiveness and environmental concerns.”

To make the change, Bachurski bought a conversion kit for $600. Alterations included installing a second tank in the spare tire compartment, running two lines up to the engine and using a copper coil to heat the oil to 160 degrees so it’s thin enough to run the same way gasoline would. In the winter, Bachurski must start the car on biodiesel fuel until the oil is hot enough.

The Mercedes isn’t the first car he’s transformed. Last January, Bachurski converted a 1998 Volkswagen Beetle and ran it on oil from Lower Merion’s cafeterias. Before that, he owned a 2004 Contour that ran on cleaner-burning natural gas. “It’s not a job for everybody,” Bachurski says, mentioning his always-grimy hands and a basement that currently houses 80 gallons of vegetable oil—50 gallons are stored in an enormous drum; the rest is in buckets on the floor.

Instead of that gasoline smell, Bachurski’s car gives off the odor of food cooked in the burning oil—French fries, chicken fingers, onion rings, you name it. His son worked at a movie theater for a few years and managed to get a hold of several gallons of butter oil. “It smells like the movie theater,” he says.

Slowly but surely, Bachurski is convincing those around him to join in the veggie-oil brigade. He recently helped a coworker to convert his car. “Sometimes people think you’re a little goofy, but when they see that you’re driving for nothing, they think again,” he says.
—Corinne Clemetsen
 


To Hybrid or Not to Hybrid? Read this before you decide.

One of the biggest ecological decisions consumers are weighing these days is whether or not to purchase a hybrid car. To help us sort out the pros and cons, we asked Nicholas Aoyama, a sales associate and self-taught hybrid guru at Martin Main Line Honda in Ardmore, to break it down for us.

Honda dominates the pack of the 11 most fuel-efficient cars. It holds the No. 3, 6 and 8 spots, alternating with Toyota much of the time. The most popular model is the Civic Hybrid, a compact four-cylinder with a city-to-highway ratio of 49/51 mpg. The Honda Insight rates higher, with a 60/66 mpg city-to-highway ratio, but isn’t as popular as the Civic or Toyota Prius. The up-front cost of a hybrid is $3,000 more than a regular Civic. “What you’re paying for is the research it took to bring that technology to life,” says Aoyama.

From the outside, not much is different. But try to fold the rear seat back and, well, you can’t because that’s where the battery sits. You may detect a difference in get-up-and-go, too. Most hybrids don’t have as much horsepower as gas-powered cars. “You could call it a con, but most people won’t notice. It’s enough,” says Aoyama.

Here’s a breakdown of how it all works: While you’re coasting along on the highway, your eco-friendly car runs on battery power, which as Aoyama points out, doesn’t have quite the same muscle as gasoline (so you shouldn’t count on seeing a hybrid pickup truck). Since the generators are located on the wheels, every time you go into coast mode, you’re also charging the battery. When you come to a stop, the engine shuts off and it feels like you’re stalled. But when you step on the accelerator, the response is instantaneous as you’re hit with full power from both sources. “Hybrids are great for people who drive a lot and for long distances,” says Aoyama.

In terms of gas mileage/expenses, savings will depend on the person—and not surprisingly, city driving won’t reap the same dividends as highway. “In a typical non-hybrid compact car, you’ll spend $1,400 a year on gas,” Aoyama says. “In a hybrid, that number drops to about $650.”

Ultimately, it could take up to five years to make up the hybrid’s higher sticker price in reduced fuel expenses, but state and federal rebates help. Currently the federal tax credit is $2,100; in Pennsylvania, it’s $500.

“One in 25 people who buy a Civic these days are choosing the hybrid,” Aoyama says. “When they’re not, it’s because they’re realistically looking at their monthly payments and seeing a difference of at least $45. That may not seem like a huge chunk of change, but multiplied by 12 months, it can make a difference in a family’s budget.”
—Dawn E. Warden


What’s with the Weather?
Local meteorologists weigh in on the global warming issue. How real is it? Should we care?

Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz, NBC 10
The weather is so naturally variable that sometimes we see the change in the environment—and damages to it—before there’s widespread acceptance that it’s been changed and/or damaged. But as the trend continues, there becomes less and less doubt that a good bit of it is “anthropogenic”—from human sources. Also, in the past 10 years, more and more research has convinced a former skeptic like me into believing this is real.

Eventually, sea levels may rise to the point where our coastline changes dramatically. Hotter and more humid summers will lead to more dangerous and longer-lasting heat waves. And thunderstorms will have greater potential to cause flooding due to more water vapor in the air.

Rob Guarino, Fox 29
We continue to set more warm records than cold. Global warming is a threat to our region because we’re on the coastal plain. As the ice melts in the Arctic/Antarctic, the ocean will rise, along with the water on the Delaware waterfront. Homes will be in jeopardy, and we increase the chance of East Coast hurricanes along New Jersey, New York and Delaware. And since Philly, Wilmington and Trenton are highly industrialized, we increase the risk of cancer, asthma and other problems.

Kathy Orr, CBS 3
As soon as we have a warm day out of the ordinary, people think it’s global warming. It’s not just a day or a week in one place; it could be warm here on the East Coast and cold on the West Coast. It all depends on how you define global warming. We are obviously warming right now. In the past million years, we’ve gone through warm periods— interglacial periods—and we’ve gone through cold periods—glacial periods. We might see more extremes like in the 1930s with the Dust Bowl.

In 1996, we had the highest recorded snowfall in Philadelphia. Right now, we’re in a cyclical pattern of hurricane activity that occurs every 23 years. That hasn’t affected our area like Katrina did, but places up as far as Long Island are at risk. How much of this is manmade—from deforestation, from fossil fuels—we don’t really know. We won’t know for at least a few hundred years. Our children won’t know, our grandchildren won’t know; so we have to be responsible. You certainly can’t ignore that we’re putting a lot of stuff into the environment, and we can assume that it has some impact. The fact is, we don’t know how much of it is manmade.

Interviews by Corinne Clemetsen and Brian Krier.


Go Green! Glossary

Alternative energy: Renewable energy sources such as biomass, nuclear, small hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, tidal energy, photovoltaic conversion systems and hydrogen fuel.

Biodiesel: A diesel-equivalent, processed fuel derived from biological sources such as vegetable oils, which can be used in unmodified diesel-engine vehicles.

Carbon dioxide (CO2): A molecule made up of one part carbon and two parts oxygen. In recent years, a buildup of CO2—largely from the burning of fossil fuels—is widely thought to be contributing to global warming.

Composting: The biological decomposition of solid organic materials by bacteria, fungi and other organisms into a soil-like product used to enrich garden soils.

Ecological footprint: A metaphor used to depict the amount of land and water a human population would need to provide the resources required to support itself and to absorb its wastes (given prevailing technology).

Electrolysis: A process in which electrical currents are used to break down water molecules into their most basic atomic components—two parts hydrogen, one part water—for use as fuel.

Fossil fuels: Carbon-rich deposits in the earth—such as petroleum, coal or natural gas—derived from the remains of ancient plants and animals and used for fuel.

Geothermal energy: Heat that comes from the earth’s interior.

Global warming: The theory that man’s use of fossil fuels is responsible for a steady increase in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, trapping heat in the atmosphere and warming the climate.

Greenhouse gases: Any of a number of gases that absorb infrared radiation when they’re released into the atmosphere, leading to the so-called greenhouse effect. Examples include CO2, methane, nitrogen oxides and various fluorocarbons.

Hybrid: Cars, trucks, and crossovers that combine at least two different power sources to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. Most common method: gasoline and battery/electric power.

Hydrogen fuel cells: The product of a technol-ogy that feeds hydrogen into one side of a “stack” and oxygen into the other. The resulting reaction produces a current that can be used to power everything from an electric motor to a spacecraft.

Mybrid: Mild hybrids—or mybrids—make more limited use of battery-generated power than a full hybrid. Generally less expensive than a full hybrid, but not as fuel-efficient.

Plug-in hybrid: A hybrid type that allows extended use in electric mode.

Radiant heating: An efficient heating system that warms cold objects to evenly give off heat.

Renewable energy: Energy derived from sources that don’t deplete natural resources, such as solar, wind and geothermal.

Sustainability: Meeting the needs of the present without depleting resources or harming natural cycles for future generations.

Zero-emission vehicle (ZEV): One that produces absolutely no emissions while running. The only true ZEVs are electric vehicles (EVs).

Xeric garden: Landscaping with water conservation as a major objective—usually accomplished by using plants native to the region.


 

 


13 Ways to Go Green

1. Buy carbon offsets. The easiest, most powerful way to become carbon neutral, this service aims to reduce the net carbon emissions of individuals or organizations through proxies who reduce their emissions and/or increase their absorption of greenhouse gases by planting trees or investing in alternative sustainable energy sources such as solar or wind power.

2. Use public transportation and drive less. Driving is the No. 1 source of the CO2 choking the atmosphere in the United States.

3. Buy compact fluorescent light bulbs.

4. Wear organic. Stylish hemp and organic cotton products can be found at rawganique.com.

5. Join an enviro-friendly committee or organization.

6. Eat organic. Organic food is healthier for the environment—and your body.

7. Turn down the heat.

8. Go vegetarian. More than a third of all fossil fuels produced in the United States is used to raise animals for food.

9. Plant a tree.

10. Educate yourself and your children.

11. Buy sustainable household products. Like gas stoves.

12. Maintain proper air pressure in your car tires.

13. Appreciate the outdoors.
 

 


Enviro-friendly Fast Facts

• Pennsylvania imports more trash than any other state. Recycling reduces strain on landfills while fueling the economy with raw materials and jobs. (Source: pennenvironment.org)

• Since 1988, the state’s recycling programs have been supported, in part, by a $2-per-ton fee on trash disposal at landfills. Thanks to this funding, Pennsylvania has more than 900 curb-side recycling programs.

• While the Pennsylvania House has passed a bill to reauthorize the state’s Recycling Fund, the Senate has yet to take action.

• Released in February, Gov. Ed Rendell’s Energy Independence Strategy will push Pennsylvania into the top tier of states taking steps to cut consumer energy costs while significantly expanding the alternative fuel, clean energy and conservation sectors. Rendell says EIS will cut our energy bills by $10 billion over the next 10 years and “give us the ability to produce enough homegrown