Scanlon- Heinz

U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-5 of Swarthmore, offers words to conserve and protect open space throughout the nation, including the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum where she was honored Tuesday morning.

PHILADELPHIA — U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-5 of Swarthmore, was honored Tuesday morning for her land-conservation efforts in her congressional district, the state and the nation.

Philadelphia-based environment advocacy group PennEnvironment presented Scanlon a simple token of appreciation at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum to help protect open spaces: A scenic photo of the 1,000-acre refuge, the nation’s first urban refuge that spreads across Delaware and Philadelphia counties.

In March 2019, Scanlon voted yes to the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, formerly known as the Natural Resources Management Act, to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund after it expired on Sept. 30, 2018. President Donald Trump signed the bill into law that month.

She has since been working on a bill to ensure full funding for the fund which has been cut by $22 billion over the decades. She is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3195, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act, to keep financing of the fund permanent.

In the upper chamber, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA, introduced a bill for full $900 million funding every year that has yet to leave the Senate for House consideration.

“We got the Land and Water Conservation fund permanently authorized; We need to get it permanently funded,” said Scanlon. “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.

“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.”

Over $23 million in federal funds have been invested in the state’s 5th Congressional District since 1964, according to PennEnvironment. Projects at FDR Park and Cobbs Creek in Philadelphia, and Upland Park and Darby Creek in Delaware County are some of the fund’s local investments.

Joining Scanlon Tuesday morning were representatives from PennEnvironment and other organizations.

“The Friends of Heinz Refuge use this national treasure at John Heinz every day 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,” said President of the Friends of Heinz Refuge Jaclyn Rhoads. “It is a unique and wonderful resource for Philadelphia and Delaware counties.”

Adding sentiments was Susan Miller of the Darby Creek Valley Association which helped to protect the Darby Creek Watershed, which covers the refuge.

“The 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,” said Miller.

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