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Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Highlights Renewable Energy, Health Care Reform at Ag Progress Days

ROCK SPRINGS, Pa., Aug. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today said Pennsylvania's agricultural industry is struggling with high fuel costs and a broken healthcare system, underscoring the need to secure the state's energy independence and make healthcare more affordable for working adults.

Nearly 900 guests gathered to hear the Governor's message at the Government & Industry Day Luncheon at Ag Progress Days, Pennsylvania's largest outdoor agricultural exposition.

"As the state's largest industry, agriculture contributes greatly to Pennsylvania's economic success and way of life," said Governor Rendell. "I applaud the continued role our agricultural industry is playing in helping to secure our state's energy independence through encouraging homegrown technology to take root."

In July, the Governor signed H.B. 1202 and Special Session S.B. 22 into law to replace 1 billion gallons of transportation fuel used in Pennsylvania with domestically produced renewable fuels. The laws will help spur the development of homegrown biofuels in Pennsylvania and reduce the state's dependence on foreign fuels by establishing new requirements that every gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel contain a percentage of cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel.

"With high fuel costs, farmers are adjusting, compromising and changing to keep their operations afloat," said Governor Rendell. "That means they are cutting back on their own resources, including expensive healthcare.

"More than 767,000 Pennsylvanians are without healthcare coverage, and that number is expected to rise as families continue to struggle to make ends meet," Governor Rendell said. "More must be done to ensure our neighbors have access to the health care they need."

In January 2007, Governor Rendell rolled out the Prescription for Pennsylvania, a realistic plan for meeting the state's urgent needs by providing access to affordable health care coverage to every Pennsylvanian, expanding access to health care in appropriate settings for the best cost, improving quality by delivering the proper care, and promoting wellness.

At the luncheon, Governor Rendell also announced the hiring of Ronald Bolze Jr. as the first executive director for the Pennsylvania Center for Beef Excellence. A native of Perry County, Bolze brings extensive background and national experience in the beef cattle industry to the center.

A year ago, Governor Rendell appointed a beef task force to re-energize the state's cattlemen, encouraging them to push for increased profits, more beef production and a stronger agricultural economy. The group's 39 members represent all aspects of the industry from production, education and industry. In January, the task force announced its plan to develop a Center for Beef Excellence.

Ag Progress Days runs today until 8 p.m. and tomorrow from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit


Teresa Candori


Nicole L. C. Bucher, Ag


SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
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