We are so pleased to share this blog from the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed about Hill Day, and proud that Cheltenham Elementary School was represented!
By Gina Errico, Communications Intern
Re-posted with permission from Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed
On March 10th 2020, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed and member organizations journeyed down to the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C for the Coalition’s annual Delaware River Watershed Hill Day. We met with every Member of Congress that represents the Delaware River Watershed states (32 offices total). We had 22 member organizations attend and about 40 attendees.
The Hill closed 2 days after our Hill Day due to concerns over coronavirus – we just made it! We thanked Members of Congress for supporting federal clean water funding and protection as well as advocating for our 2020 policy priorities some of which include; the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, Land and Water Conservation Fund, Clean Water Funding and the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act.
Some highlights of the policies we advocated for; a modest increase in funding for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, but to include language that would allow more flexibility in grant proposals, giving smaller organizations an equal opportunity to receive funding. An increase in the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which would fund loans to local government to invest in green water infrastructure and help close the gap between federal infrastructure investment in clean water.
The Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act which has been recently introduced, would ban single-use plastic items that are not recyclable and ban single-use plastic carryout bags. It would also spur massive investments into U.S. domestic recycling and composting infrastructures and establish minimum recycled content requirements for various packaging and food-service products.
These policies, and the others included in the 2020 policy priorities, will help to improve clean water, protect public lands and reduce pollution in our waterways.
Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF) is one of the organizations that came to D.C. to stand in defense of clean water programs. TTF is dedicated to improving the health and vitality of the Philadelphia and Montgomery County watershed by collaborating with municipalities and leading communities in education, stewardship, restoration, and advocacy.
This Hill Day they also brought along a teacher from Cheltenham Elementary School in Pennsylvania, Katherine Falso. Forty percent of Pennsylvania lives within the Delaware River Watershed, including Katherine’s students, who created water art to demonstrate how much the Watershed means to them, which she shared with the various members of Congress. Katherine’s students are an awesome example of how the impacts of the policies of today are important to the youth of America and will have a huge effect on their futures.
As an intern for the Coalition, this years Hill Day was my first time advocating to Congress for clean water funding and land protection. Meeting with other Coalition members was a great way for me to learn about all of the amazing hard work and effort that people are doing all over the watershed.
Having coalition members from all four states attend the event not only shows the importance of the Delaware River but how much people care about protecting it, for their community and the wildlife that depend on it.
The day itself was packed with back to back meetings with Congressional members, and having been a first timer in advocating, it was a great experience to see how smoothly the meetings went, all of the legislators we were able to meet and discuss our priorities with, and how much was accomplished in just one day.
The advocating and educating of legislators by members of the Coalition was an amazing success in bringing attention to the efforts needed to protect the Delaware River Watershed and the people and wildlife that rely on it. Days like these show us how important it is as citizens of the watershed to advocate for protection and funding of our natural resources so that they can be preserved for generations to come!
TTF is a member of the Coalition, and Executive Director Julie Slavet serves on the CDRW Steering Committee.
More TTF photos here.