Maya K. van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper
Maya K. van Rossum is a veteran environmentalist who joined the Delaware Riverkeeper Network in 1994 as executive director and since 1996 has served as the Delaware Riverkeeper, championing the rights of over 17 million people to a free-flowing, clean, and healthy Delaware River and its tributary streams.
In her role as the Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya has dedicated her life to being the “voice of the Delaware River.” She has taken on industry, government, and even the U.S. Army; preventing harm to the River, communities, and environments she bravely champions.
Maya and her organization were the only environmental petitioners in the landmark Robinson Township, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania case. The case, decided by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2013, breathed life into the state’s Environmental Rights Amendment for protecting the right to pure water, clean air, and a healthy environment.
She is a licensed attorney in three states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. Since 2002, Maya has served as an adjunct professor and director of the Environmental Law Clinic, which she founded, at Temple’s Beasley School of Law.
In 2013, Maya testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee opposing a bill that would make it easier to approve fracked gas pipeline projects cutting through creeks, rivers, communities, wetlands, forests, and farmlands. In 2000, she testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources regarding wild and scenic designation for the lower Delaware River.
In addition to her own book, The Green Amendment, Maya has authored forewords for Damming the Delaware: The Rise and Fall of Tocks Island Dam by Richard Albert, and A Paddler’s Guide to the Delaware River by Gary Letcher.
Maya grew up in the Delaware River watershed, playing in Ithan Creek, a tributary to the Darby, which is a tributary to the Delaware. After law school she returned to the Delaware River watershed to take on the role of fighting to protect it, along with each and every tributary stream including her beloved Ithan Creek.
Delaware Riverkeeper Network has its main office in Bristol, PA and can be found on the web at delawareriverkeeper.org.