PEC’s Davitt Woodwell Comments on Cabinet Appoinments

Congratulations to our friends and colleagues Cindy Dunn and John Quigley. With Governor-Elect Tom Wolf’s announcement of Cindy and John as his nominees for the Secretaries of Pennsylvania’s DCNR and DEP, respectively, we know that Mr. Wolf has chosen professionals with long-time environmental and conservation chops.

I first met Cindy Dunn in the early ‘90s and have had the pleasure of working with her through her roles at the Alliance for the Chesapeake, PA Audubon, DCNR, and Penn Future. Cindy’s understanding of a broad range of issues as well as her unwavering commitment to conservation and community values will, again, serve the agency well.

Davitt Woodwell photo 2016 (3)
Davitt Woodwell

As Secretary of DCNR, Cindy will face a plethora of issues inherent in managing 2.5 million acres of state land including, arguably, the nation’s finest state park system, as well as partnerships promoting land conservation and recreational trail maintenance and development. Those issues include ongoing debates surrounding how best to manage multiple uses of state resources, especially shale gas.

While natural gas may be the most public policy debate for DCNR, balancing infrastructure needs of the parks, forests, and trails as well as the needs of dozens of partner organizations and grantees is the usually unheralded part of the job. Cindy knows this well from her time at DCNR and her experience as a nonprofit leader. Both those sets of experiences give her the set of skills that will bring her success as Secretary.

As for DEP, PEC has had the pleasure of working with John Quigley from his original time at Penn Future, through his leadership of DCNR, and—since his time as Secretary—as a passionate advocate for environmental stewardship. My first work with John was while he was at DCNR. We collaborated on understanding how the agency could best help reduce carbon emissions. John was also integral to our work on Conservation Landscapes – projects that have leveraged millions of dollars of investments in communities near major DCNR assets and reinvigorated environmental stewardship in those communities.

John’s experience with shale gas, climate issues, working on legislative issues, and agency budgeting (as well as eight years as Mayor of Hazelton) are critical to managing DEP. The agency faces a number of challenges including finally getting regulations in place from Act 13 (passed three years ago next month), addressing the requirements of EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and working to ensure adequate funding so that the agency can meet its responsibilities to serve the people of the Commonwealth.

As in any administration, we at PEC look forward to working with both agencies as we work to further our mission to protect and restore Pennsylvania’s natural and built environments. While we will not always agree, we look forward to working with them as members of Governor Wolf’s cabinet.