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Louise Cecil Dunlap

Louise Cecil Dunlap

Feb 7, 1946 - Apr 15, 2021

Louise Cecil Dunlap

Louise Cecil Dunlap

Feb 7, 1946 - Apr 15, 2021

Louise Cecil Dunlap - Obituary

Louise C. Dunlap, a passionate environmentalist renowned for her focus on energy development, coal mining practices and their effects on the environment died Thursday, April 15. She was 75. Dunlap passed away of acute myeloid leukemia peacefully with family by her side. Dunlap spent a lifetime advocating for the hard-hit communities affected by the harmful practices of the coal mining industry. Working to secure legislation from 1971 to 1977, her steadfast efforts led to the enactment of the Surface Mine Control & Reclamation Act of 1977, SMCRA. Colleagues said that she led one of most effective campaigns in the history of the U.S. environmental movement: the seven-year national citizens' effort to enact federal legislation requiring the coal industry to protect valuable farmlands, streams and wetlands and to reclaim all surface mined lands. At the bill signing ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, President Carter praised Dunlap as "persistent in the face of adversity and disappointment," the Associated Press reported at the time. Her tenacious nature made persistence the ultimate compliment. During that same period, she co-founded and became President of the Environmental Policy Institute and the Environmental Policy Center in 1972, and which under her leadership, grew into the largest public-interest environmental lobbying organization in Washington. She was the first woman to become chief executive of a major U. S. national environmental organization. In 1976, she married fellow environmentalist Joe Browder, known for his work to protect the Florida Everglades. Thereafter, she and Browder, an alumnus of the U.S. Dept. of the Interior, founded Dunlap & Browder, Inc., an environmental consulting firm with an international clientele. Joe Browder was both her beloved husband and partner, a mutually successful enterprise. Browder died in 2016. Over the course of her career, Dunlap would serve on the boards of the League of Conservation Voters, the Clean Water Fund, Scenic America, the Environmental Policy Institute and the National Clean Air Coalition, while holding posts with the National Parks Conservation Association and Friends of the Earth, where she focused on legislative issues including energy efficiency and climate. Most recently, Dunlap was working on the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) statute's next reauthorization in the weeks before her death. She also has been a central figure in the Alternative Fuels element of the Clean Air Act reauthorization. Environmentalists who knew Dunlap have suggested that Congress pay tribute to Dunlap by renaming the AML reauthorization in her honor. The Interior Department highlighted Dunlap's work in 2016, when the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement awarded her the Environment, Community, Humanity, Ownership Award. Pennsylvania Rep. Matt Cartwright (D) and Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) praised Dunlap as "an inspiring force." Daughter of generational Lancaster, PA residents James Cecil Dunlap, former President of the Lancaster Livestock Exchange, and Anne Louise Reist, civic activist and Duke University alumna, Dunlap followed in her mother's path by attending Duke University herself where she graduated in 1968. A devout Duke alumna, Dunlap served as a Member of the Advisory Board of Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment as well as on the board of The University Council of Women's Studies. She never missed an opportunity to find herself in Durham. There she forged many meaningful and life-long friendships and was thrilled when her step-granddaughter, Elizabeth Browder, became a third generation Duke graduate. One of her greatest pleasures was mentoring fresh Duke graduates in the Washington, DC area. An eternal optimist, Dunlap was deeply committed to her work until the very end. She was fervent in her convictions on behalf of both people and the environment. A naturalist at heart, she adored her home overlooking the Chesapeake Bay and was deeply in-tune with the nature that surrounded her there. She relished the sounds of the whistling swans and barn owls. An avid collector, she had a passion for folk art, decoys, gardening and all things beautiful. She was renowned for enchanting family and friends with exquisitely wrapped gifts and always looked forward to holidays spent together. She was a master at painting Easter eggs (Hinkle's Dye a must) and delighted in hiding them in the most obscure of places, creating a sense of magic and adventure for her great nieces and nephews. She will be remembered for her endlessly positive outlook, generosity of spirit, endurance, humor and a fierce sense of independence. Always with a twinkle in her eye, she had the most genuine of hearts, and she savored time spent with her family, wonderful neighbors and friends. Dunlap is survived by her sister Constance Dunlap Santarelli and brother-in-law Donald E. Santarelli, Alexandria, VA; niece Louisa Santarelli Koplan, Los Angeles; nephew Alessandro "Sam" Santarelli, Owings Mills, MD; step-children, Monte Browder, Davie, FL; Ron Browder, Jacksonville, FL; and many beloved step-grandchildren and great nieces and nephews. Gifts in memory of Louise Dunlap may be directed to support Dr. Amy DeZern's research at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Please make checks payable to Johns Hopkins University. Gifts may be mailed with a memo indicating that this gift is in memory of Louise Dunlap to the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, PO Box 17029, Baltimore, MD 21297-1029. Gifts in memory of Louise Dunlap may also be made to the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds at 9697 Loop Road, Alexandria, PA 16611, attention John Dawes. The family looks forward to celebrating her life in the near future.

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