PennEnvironment honors Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon for championing parks and open spaces

Event at Heinz National Wildlife Refuge highlights region's iconic places, need for preserving them
For Immediate Release

[Tinicum, PA]-- PennEnvironment honored Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (Philadelphia and Delaware County) today at the Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum for her ongoing leadership and support for protecting parks, public lands, and open spaces, here in Pennsylvania and across the nation. 

PennEnvironment presented Congresswoman Scanlon with a scenic photo of the Refuge as a show of their appreciation for her leadership protecting public lands.

Most recently, Congresswoman Scanlon (PA-5) 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 Scanlon were joined by Andrew Hayman, the Borough Manager for Folcroft Borough, Sue Miller, Director of Darby Creek Valley Association, and Jaclyn Rhoads of the Friends of Heinz Wildlife Refuge.

“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. Mary Gay Scanlon’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 Battlefield, to local recreation spots like FDR Park and Cobbs Creek in Philadelphia, and Upland Park and Darby Creek in Delaware County. 

Since its inception in 1964, the LWCF has invested over $23 million in the 5th Congressional District.

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. 

At the event, Representative Scanlon explained the importance of funding LWCF, not only for Pennsylvanians, but people nationwide:

“We got the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanently authorized. We need to get it permanently funded. Priorities in Congress can change from time to time but we need to make sure that protecting the environment, protecting these refuges, protecting our watersheds, and protecting our public spaces is made permanently. I am wholeheartedly behind that.” said Scanlon,  “And I think it’s really important that groups like PennEnvironment and the general public remain vigilant and remain advocating for the protection of our environment.”  

Susan Miller of the Darby Creek Valley Association (DCVA), also thanked the Congresswoman, saying, “The LWCF has helped conserve thousands of acres across the United States, including John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, which is part of the Darby Creek Watershed. DCVA works hard to protect Darby Creek Watershed and all its natural resources. The LWCF has been a big help in doing that by protecting the lands and water which benefits everyone.”

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 Scanlon is currently a cosponsor of this legislation. Congressmen Evans and Boyle of Philadelphia are also sponsors of this legislation

“I would like to thank Congresswoman Scanlon for her support of the LWCF,” added Andrew Haymon, Borough Manager for Folcroft Borough,”We’re fortunate in Folcroft to contain part of Pennsylvania's only tidal marsh - a unique environment and critical spawning ground for many marine species. This community is even more fortunate to be represented by such an advocate for the environment. The LWCF will help protect places like this refuge for generations to come.”

"The Friends of Heinz Refuge use this national treasure at John Heinz everyday to educate the public about the importance of natural resources by offering programs and grants to schools for field trips. The Land and Water Conservation Fund not only protects lands but also provides recreation and education opportunities and health benefits. It is a unique and wonderful resource for Philadelphia and Delaware Counties," states Jaclyn Rhoads, President of the Friends of Heinz Refuge.

“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.” 

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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.