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Issue Home December 3, 2002 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Join Us In Peace

In spite of all the media attention about planning for war, there are a good many of us who are not in favor of rushing into a posture for war before all other options have been exhausted.

We are announcing a gathering on the steps of the County Courthouse in Montrose, PA on Saturday, November 30, at twelve o’clock noon. We hope you will help us to publicize this event, and invite people that share our concern for peace to join us.

People who are disturbed about our nation’s hasty preparation for war, come to this rally of People for Peace, and help demonstrate our reasoning for a more sane and thoughtful way to deal with threats to our own security and terrorism around the world.


Paul W. Gere

Montrose, PA

PA Recycling Reality Less Than Advertised

Pennsylvanians are being told that the state’s recycling initiative is a success, and that money for recycling programs in Pennsylvania is abundant. The reality, however, is quite different, and the future of Pennsylvania's recycling effort may fall victim to these misperceptions.

A press release recently issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection claims Pennsylvania has reached a recycling rate of 36.1 percent. That’s one percent higher than the 35 percent goal former Gov. Tom Ridge set for the end of 2002 when he took office in 1996.

Unfortunately, the latest DEP figures reflect a new way of counting more than they reflect a legitimate improvement in Pennsylvania's recycling rate. DEP reached its 35 percent goal by including many non-legitimate recyclables, such as incinerator ash and asphalt.

If the state had used the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency for counting recyclables, its rate would be about 28 percent. If it counted just the materials actually listed in Act 101 – the state’s recycling law – the rate would only be about 19 percent.

The DEP release also suggests that recycling money in Pennsylvania is plentiful. Again, the reality is quite different. Money that DEP claims is unspent was awarded under the recycling program’s usual two-year contract, so communities that have accepted this money still have another year left to use it – it is not "unused" or "available."

The fact is there remains a pent-up demand for recycling money in Pennsylvania, a demand that DEP is increasingly unable to meet. The $25 million a year being diverted from the recycling fund to Growing Greener and other programs has left a severe shortage of funding for Section 902 grants, which provide municipalities with money for recycling equipment, bins and educational programs. In the past two years, $34 million worth of Section 902 grant applications were denied by DEP, and the department just announced it will make only $3 million available in the next round of recycling grants, $17 million less than usual.

I don’t want to see Pennsylvania's recycling effort fall victim to political spin. Despite the dispatches from Harrisburg, the state’s recycling rate has stalled, the recycling fund is depleted and communities are in need of more recycling money. That is the reality, and that is the perspective from which the governor-elect and the General Assembly should be planning the state’s future recycling goals and funding commitments.


State Rep. Greg Vitali


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