“Drive Cleaner, Drive Greener” a Moving Event

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Hotline, Winter 2003

by Rachel Filippini, GASP Executive Assistant

Guests at GASP’s 2002 Annual Meeting/Fundraising Event, “Drive Cleaner, Drive Greener,” held at Duranti’s Restaurant in Oakland, were greeted with an interesting array of educational and fun activities. The event featured test drives and information about some of the new hybrid-electric vehicles on the market, fascinating presentations and discussions on energy, and a silent auction of many exciting items donated by local businesses, organizations and individuals. All attendees to “Drive Cleaner, Drive Greener” were encouraged to test drive or ride in one of the available hybrid gas/electric vehicles, a natural gas vehicle or an electric vehicle. Dean Honda provided a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid, Rohrich Toyota provided a 2002 Toyota Prius, and Board Member Marla Ferrency brought her own hybrid car, a 2000 Honda Insight. Pittsburgh Regional Clean Cities provided a natural gas vehicle and the University of Pittsburgh’s Electric Panther Club provided an electric vehicle to view. For more information on hybrid vehicles, see the Fall 2002 Hotline, online at http://www.gasp-pgh.org/hotline/fall02_6.html.

oil consumption
In the graph above, the entire height of the bar shows the amount of oil available in each region. The shaded area is the amount already consumed; the white area is the amount still in reserve. Source: U.S. Office of Technology Assessment.

Following a delicious buffet dinner, Carnegie Mellon University Professor and Director of the CMU Environmental Institute, Cliff Davidson, spoke about energy consumption as it pertains to issues in natural resource use and air quality. Professor Davidson’s presentation focused on the use of natural resources in the production of cars, building of roads, and land use for things like gas stations, parking lots and auto repair. He related this use to trends in emissions from cars and to the particulate monitoring being done in Pittsburgh at the EPA/DOE Supersite Monitoring Station. (For more information on the Pgh. Supersite see http://www.gasp-pgh.org/hotline/fall02_3.html). One of the most intriguing moments in Professor Davidson’s presentation came when he displayed a slide showing oil consumption worldwide as compared to known oil reserves, as shown at the right. The graph clearly shows that the United States consumes more oil than we can produce domestically. If we are to become less dependent on foreign oil, we need to take the initiative to develop and encourage the use of alternative forms of energy.

Davidson and Waxman
Prof. Cliff Davidson (left) and Rep.Henry Waxman (right)

All of this set the stage for the main event of the evening, a talk by U.S. Representative Henry Waxman of California. Representative Waxman, a long time advocate for a healthy environment, spoke about the newly adopted energy bill and his thoughts on what makes for a sound energy policy, followed by an informative question and answer session.

In his talk, Representative Waxman stated early on that he agrees with President Bush that the United States urgently needs a national energy policy. However, he said the energy bill adopted by the House Republicans, based on the energy policy developed by Vice President Cheney’s energy task force, is “a great energy bill for the 19th century.” He went on to say the energy bill adopted by the House Republicans was a fabulous corporate welfare program for oil and gas companies, the coal industry, the nuclear industry, utilities, and the auto industry. Representative Waxman sees a sound energy policy as a plan for generating, using, and conserving energy in a way that provides the maximum benefits to the people of this country. It must account for all of its impacts on human and environmental health — from contributing to our childrens’ asthma to threatening pristine wilderness areas by drilling for oil. These are all costs that need to be calculated. Representative Waxman recommends a transition to using less oil and encourages the development and use of new technologies that reduce natural resource consumption in both the automotive industry and in electricity production. Waxman says, “We need a positive energy bill that avoids energy industry give-aways and works toward a future of clean, safe, and renewable sources of energy.” He admits this won’t be easy, but that he has seen what groups like GASP can achieve when they insist on action from their elected representatives. To read Representative Waxman’s entire speech go to http://www.gasp-pgh.org/action/waxmanspeech.html. Note: The energy bill, which was passed in both the House and Senate, stalled out in conference committee in late 2002.

In addition, attendees heard the energy viewpoints of three Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidates or their representatives.

More than 140 GASP members and supporters attended “Drive Cleaner, Drive Greener.” GASP raised money through our special reception, generous sponsorships, and from our very successful silent auction and raffle. Silent auction prizes ranged from a kayak tour for five from the Three Rivers Rowing Association to a ten-day stay for two at Clearwater Beach, FL, donated by GASP member and volunteer, Fran Harkins. Among the many items raffled off was a $250 IKEA gift certificate.

GASP looks forward to another successful annual meeting in 2003; however, to do so means we’ll need help once again from dedicated volunteers. Are you interested in helping us create event materials, develop sponsorships, brainstorm ideas, and work on environmental issues? If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering on GASP’s Event Committee, please contact Rachel Filippini at (412) 441-6650 or gasp@gasp-pgh.org.

Thank You!

The GASP Annual Meeting on November 2, 2002 at Duranti’s Restaurant in Oakland was a huge success, thanks to many generous sponsors and donors. We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to:

  • Frieda Shapira (Honorary Chair Person)
  • Giant Eagle, Inc.
  • Allegheny County Health Department

Special thanks to the following businesses, organizations and individuals who donated to the silent auction and raffle:

  • Borders Books (North Hills)
  • Cafe Allegro
  • Carnegie Mellon School of Drama
  • City Theater
  • The Climbing Wall, Inc.
  • Conservation Consultants, Inc.
  • E-House Company
  • East End Food CO-OP
  • Elizabeth Donohoe of ShiatsuWorks
  • Fran Harkins
  • Frick Art & Historical Center
  • Gateway Clipper Fleet
  • General Nutrition Company
  • GreenMarketplace.com
  • IKEA
  • Joseph Seppi & Son
  • Just Ducky Tours
  • Megan Schriver
  • Panera Bread
  • Pittsburgh Children’s Museum
  • Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
  • Qdoba Mexican Grill
  • Starbucks Coffee Company
  • Steel Industry Heritage Corporation
  • Three Rivers Rowing Association
  • Western Pennsylvania Field Institute
  • Whole Foods Market