[Valley Forge, PA]-- PennEnvironment honored Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (Montgomery County) today at Valley Forge National Historic Park for her ongoing leadership and support for protecting parks, public lands, and open spaces, here in Pennsylvania and across the nation. PennEnvironment presented Congresswoman Dean with a scenic photo of the Park as a show of their appreciation for her leadership protecting public lands.
Most recently, Congresswoman Dean (PA-4) voted to permanently reauthorize the nation’s preeminent conservation funding program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The Congresswoman is also currently cosponsoring legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to ensure full, dedicated funding for the LWCF.
PennEnvironment and Congresswoman Dean were joined by state representatives Tim Briggs (HD-149) and Melissa Shusterman (HD-149), whose districts both include Valley Forge National Historic Park, as well as Andrew Gilchrist, Regional Adviser to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (PA-DCNR) and Kelly Knutson, State Policy Director for the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed (CDRW).
“Protecting and maintaining our country's outdoor places doesn’t happen by accident — it requires sustained stewardship, funding, and leadership,” said Stephanie Wein, Clean Water & Conservation Advocate with PennEnvironment “We're pleased to be here today highlighting Rep. Madeleine Dean’s continued advocacy for the parks Pennsylvanians love.”
Over its 54-year history, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has financed projects ranging from the iconic Appalachian Trail and Gettysburg to local preserves like Hibernia County Park, French Creek and Marsh Creek State Parks in Chester County, and neighborhood parks like Pottstown’s Memorial Park in Montgomery County.
Since its inception in 1964, the LWCF has invested over $5 million in the 5th Congressional District. At the event, Representative Dean explained the importance of funding LWCF, not only for Pennsylvanians, but people nationwide:
“LWCF represents government at its best: a forward-thinking, bipartisan program that protects America’s priceless natural resources for all to enjoy – while creating jobs and driving us toward a greener, more responsible economic future,” said Congresswoman Dean.
Unfortunately, despite its long-standing success, LWCF has consistently been shortchanged. Congress has diverted $22 billion from the program to non-conservation related projects over the years.
Yet that could all change if Congress passes the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act (H.R. 3195), which would safeguard the money for these vital projects. Congresswoman Dean is currently a cosponsor of this legislation. Congresswoman Houlahan of Chester County and Congresswoman Wild of the Lehigh Valley are also sponsors of this legislation “Valley Forge is an historic site, but also a critical environmental asset that must be protected,” added Representative Tim Briggs. “We are fortunate to have champions like Congresswoman Dean to be able to make these critical conservation efforts in order to pass wonderful resources like Valley Forge onto the next generation.
“The Land and Water Conservation Program is crucial in preserving many of our nation’s most important public lands,” said Representative Shusterman. “We heavily rely on this program to continue to preserve the important history and open space that places like this park provides. I will continue to follow the lead of Congresswoman Dean and PennEnvironment to protect this program.”
Andrew Gilchrist added on behalf of the PA-DCNR, “The Land and Water Conservation Fund remains a critical funding source for preserving land and building parks across Pennsylvania. The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources thanks Representative Dean for her strong support of this essential program.”
“Full funding in the amount of $900 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund will protect clean drinking water, provide improved public access to open space, and much more.
The Coalition thanks Congresswoman Dean for her leadership on such a critical issue,” said Kelly Knutson, the State Policy Director for CDRW.
“We’re hopeful that Congress can get the job done this year, because there’s no lack of bipartisan support,” said Wein. “Earlier this year, the House voted 363 to 62 to permanently reauthorize the program, and now more than half of the House has cosponsored the bill to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Let’s get it done.”
PennEnvironment is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. For more information, visit www.PennEnvironment.org.