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Andre Heinz speaks about Kerry's plans at Crooked Creek Center

| Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2004

BETHEL -- Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry's stepson, Andre Heinz, discussed the country's environmental future if Kerry is elected to office in two weeks.

Heinz said President Bush has "assaulted the environment over the past four years by allowing polluters to rewrite the environmental laws in this country."

The group of 35 people gathered at the Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center to ask Heinz what his stepfather plans to do about issues concerning energy and agriculture.

"John Kerry wants to encourage people to get involved and help change the attitude of alternative energy sources and the environment," Heinz said. "Kerry's plan is to not buy pollution, but to buy jobs."

Heinz said that by fostering companies that use "green" processes, it helps to eliminate additional pollution and helps to create new and additional jobs.

"Renewable energy is something we really need to address with industry leaders," he said. "By working together, we can realize the problems that exist, and attempt to find solutions to them."

Several ideas discussed included the use of ethanol for fueling vehicles, solar power, wind energy and preservation of agricultural land.

Dave Rupert, manager of the Armstrong County Conservation District, said the use of ethanol instead of gasoline would be beneficial to Armstrong County.

'We have an abundance of hay that could be used to produce the ethanol, and at the same time, help cut emissions at coal-fired power plants," he said. "The farm economy in the county would be much more viable by utilizing what we already have."

Rupert said the process for creating ethanol includes using the cooling water of the coal-fired power plants. It would assist in turning hay into the alternative fuel source.

"The problem is that there is no incentives for people who want to try to develop alternate energy sources," Rupert said. "If there was a national policy and more funds available, the U.S., and even Armstrong County, could compete with other countries who have already begun using these alternate fuels."

Heinz agreed saying there are some "really exciting options out there that need to be developed."

"John Kerry will make a huge push to utilize renewable energy sources and to develop smarter and better ways to manage our resources," he said.

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