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Punt honored by conservation orgranization

November 28, 1997

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - State Sen. Terry Punt, R-Franklin, has been named Legislator of the Year by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts for his "outstanding contributions to the preservation of Pennsylvania's natural resources."

The three-term senator, who is known for his support of business, said he has always tried to balance business and environmental concerns.

"You can have economic development without blacktopping the whole county and you can do it without returning to the days of the dinosaur," he said.

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He pointed to several bills he co-sponsored that are environmentally friendly. Not all have been passed by the Legislature, he said, but he keeps trying.

One of them, the bottle bill, is constantly under attack by special interests like the state's glass industry and businesses that would have to deal with the bottles that citizens would turn in for recycling, he said. The bill would allow people to turn in bottles for a cash refund.

"That's going to be an uphill battle," he said.

Legislation he supported on behalf of the environmental community that passed was a law requiring notification before pesticides are applied, he said.

He said he also supported resolutions to ban out-of-state waste from coming into the state and one that protects farm and forest lands from development.

He said the award means a lot to him.

"I take my responsibility in preserving the area's natural resources seriously," he said.

There are 66 soil conservation districts in Pennsylvania, said Ernest Tarner, executive director of the Franklin County district. He submitted Punt's name to the main district office in Harrisburg for consideration for the award, he said. A committee chooses the recipient, he said.

"Terry supports agricultural interests in the Senate and he works closely with our office," Tarner said.

Punt helps the district maintain a partnership between state and local government, he said.

"We have a really good working relationship with him," he said.

The conservation district is not an environmental group, Tarner said.

"Environmental groups never want anything to change. We don't tell someone that they can't build or develop something, but we do tell them the proper way to do it to prevent pollution," he said.

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