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· Sprawl
· Clean Water
· Renewable Energy
· Wilderness

Increasingly, cities throughout Pennsylvania are struggling to find ways to preserve open space and stop uncontrolled sprawl. If elected, how would you address this problem?

Pennsylvania lost over 1 million acres of cropland, forest and open space in just five years (1992-1997), ranking number two in the nation in conversion of total acres of land to development. Each year, Pennsylvaniaís local governments spend up to $120 million more than they would spend if more compact forms of development were built. As housing tracts, strip malls, highway enlargements and golf courses replace acre after acre of land across Pennsylvania, cities and the state must face increased air and water pollution, traffic, overcrowded schools and a key loss of wildlife habitat.

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Clean Water

In many cases, Pennsylvania's drinking water does not meet national safety standards and endangers the health of our children. How will you bring water utilities into compliance with clean water laws?

More than 40 percent of U.S. waterways are threatened by pollution, much of which can be traced to polluted runoff from farms, ranches, parking lots, city streets and storm water discharge systems. While U.S. waterways have been cleaned up dramatically as a result of the Clean Water Act, pollutants are still being discharged into rivers, lakes and streams and there are still many places where fishing and swimming are not allowed. Serious water pollution problems - such as contaminated drinking water, massive fish kills and large algae blooms - in at least 30 states have been linked to inadequate pollution control and lax enforcement of environmental regulations. A report conducted by Clean Water Action, the Clean Water Fund and others shows that many of Pennsylvaniaís water utilities are not telling the whole truth about the safety of their water and the potential health effects on our communities. The report found that 50 percent of Pennsylvania water utilities issued misleading statements in their annual reports on the general safety of their water, according to EPA standards.

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Clean Air

Outdated power facilities, industry and traffic congestion make Pennsylvania's air dirty and breathing unsafe for children, the elderly and the sick. How will you, as an elected official, fight to clean our air?

Pennsylvania has the 4th dirtiest air in the nation. Last summer, Pennsylvaniaís air was unhealthy to breathe on one out of every three days. In Philadelphia alone, over 2,500 people die prematurely each year from heart and lung disease due to soot and other air pollution. An additional 14,000 Pennsylvanians must seek medical care for health problems related to dirty air each year. Major contributors to air pollution in the state include fossil fuel burning power plants, automobile emissions, and other industrial sources.

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Renewable Energy

"Green power" from renewable resources such as wind and sun can protect Pennsylvania's water and air from the dirty pollution caused by fossil fuel-burning power plants. Pennsylvanians now have the option of choosing this more desirable form of energy. If elected, how will you encourage utilities to offer the choice of green energy and promote its use around Pennsylvania?

Burning fossil fuels to generate electricity threatens public health and the environment by creating smog, acid rain and global warming. Pennsylvania leads the nation in acid rain and toxic mercury emissions, and has the fourth smoggiest air in the nation. Approximately 14,500 Pennsylvanians each year are hospitalized for breathing problems due to dirty air. In addition, Pennsylvania contributes more global warming-causing pollution than 84 countries. If 10 percent of the electricity consumed in Pennsylvania came from renewable resources, Pennsylvanians would avoid emissions of 12 million tons per year of carbon dioxide (CO2), 12,000 tons per year of smog-creating nitrogen oxide (NOx) and over 90,000 tons per year of sulfur dioxide (SO2).

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All terrain vehicle use in wilderness areas results in such negative impacts as noise pollution that disturbs wildlife, air pollution and water pollution in streams, springs and bogs. Trampled vegetation stands as testament to all the times the ATV users ride off trails and into even more fragile areas. What is your plan for protecting Pennsylvania's wilderness areas from destruction and disturbance by ATV's?

Pennsylvania law currently allows ATV access to trails on state forest and parklands. No trails have yet been constructed on parklands, but the forest trail system has grown to 184 miles. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is holding public hearings to gather public comment on their proposed plan to increase the amount of ATV trails in Pennsylvania's wilderness areas. Due to citizen pressure, DCNR Secretary John Oliver announced a moratorium on the construction of all new ATV trails until December of 2000. This issue has received more comments (both pro and con) than any other since the Governor took office in 1994. To preserve Pennsylvania's wilderness areas, both for recreation and wildlife use, it is crucial that they receive protection from destructive influences such as ATVs.

Please sign on to the Pennsylvania Action Network, by clicking here. We will keep you informed about current issues in Pennsylvania, especially this important debate about expanding ATV trails throughout Pennsylvania's public lands.

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© 2000/1, League of Conservation Voters Education Fund