Upper Delaware Council Executive Director Laurie Ramie presents Rep. Matt Cartwright with a photo of Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct donated for display in his new 8th Congressional District Office in Hawley, PA.
U.S. Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-8) delivered the keynote address at the Upper Delaware Council’s 31st Annual Awards Ceremony on Sunday, April 28, at Central House Family Resort in Beach Lake, PA.
Rep. Cartwright stated, in part, “I’m honored to be here with such great people united by a commitment to conserve and protect the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. For its 31 years, this partnership has made good on that important commitment, and I hope you will continue to do so for many more.
“While I’m not new to Congress, I am new to this area, as it is part of the newly formed 8th Congressional District. I come to it with the same goal I held when I first ran for Congress: to conserve and protect our precious natural resources.
“Stewardship is a value I hold close to my heart, and I believe that each of you feels the same.
“We have a responsibility not only to future generations, but also to ourselves, our families, and our neighbors to ensure access to clean drinking water and to preserve wild and scenic areas. We should never take for granted the value of stunning landscapes, pristine rivers, and a diversity of wildlife.
“The Upper Delaware River, and the land surrounding it, fuels our personal well-being and our regional economy. Fifteen million people downstream get their drinking water from the river. It comes out of taps in our homes. It waters our fields. It supports our manufacturing.
“And each year over 26 million people come to the Poconos and spend nearly $4 million on recreation. They camp, hike, hunt, fish, or just take time to enjoy the view.
“This irreplaceable resource creates jobs and adds to tax revenues that support key services for local residents. Six to seven percent of all jobs in Pennsylvania are supported by tourism and travel spending, and the industry brings over $40 billion annually into our state economy. It generates nearly $10 billion in state, local, and federal taxes.
“I am impressed by the Upper Delaware Council’s unique partnership of governmental entities and agencies that manage the river. You’re charged with the delicate balance of protecting the quality of the water, conserving the river for future generations, making it accessible for residents and visitors, and cultivating a healthy business climate. I congratulate you for a job well done on all planks.
“As your Congressman, I want to know more about the issues that concern you. I’m here to support your work. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I can advocate for funding for programs that are most important to you.
“I’m particularly proud to have helped with the establishment of the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements Act of 2018.
“The awards from this program were just announced last month by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Twenty-five grant recipients received $4.1 million in federal funds. And that includes funds granted to the Friends of the Upper Delaware River, Inc. to improve conditions for fishing, hiking, and bird watching.
“Being near the river, I’m sure that many of you have felt the impacts of extreme weather and flooding. You hear from people who work on the river how it impacts their businesses when the fish are scarce or trails and campgrounds are closed.
“That’s why I’ve proposed legislation that will help us better prepare for the extreme weather events that are becoming more frequent as our climate warms. The PREPARE ACT, which passed the House last year, would direct federal agencies to develop tools and data to help local communities prepare for damaging weather.
“This type of forward-planning can save us billions of dollars while also protecting lives.
“Please know that I will always be a strong voice in Congress for measures that protect and conserve our natural resources while also enhancing economic opportunities.
“So, once again, thank you for the opportunity to get to know you better and to help celebrate your champions: the noble people dedicated to the protection of the Upper Delaware River and the quality of the life it provides.”