Protect 24 million acres of Northern Rockies Wildlands

The Northern Rockies Ecosystem is the LAST remaining functioning ecosystem in the lower 49 states, where all native species still reside.

The U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands is now considering the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA), H.R. 980, sponsored by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Representative Raul Grijavala (D-AZ) and more than 100 other congressional representatives from both parties.

To preserve the biological integrity of the Northern Rockies Ecosystem, NREPA designates as Wilderness nearly 7 million acres in Montana, 9.5 million acres in Idaho, 5 million acres in Wyoming, 750,000 acres in eastern Oregon, and 500,000 acres in eastern Washington.  Included in this total are over 3 million acres of backcountry Wilderness in Yellowstone, Glacier and Grand Teton National Parks.

Since it was co-written by our nation%u2019s leading wildlife and aquatic biologists, HR 980, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA), protects the habitat essential for the survival of rare, threatened, and endangered species that characterize the wild nature of the Northern Rockies; such as the gray wolf, otter, mountain goat, mountain sheep, pika, elk, northern goshawk, boreal owl, pileated woodpecker, ferruginous hawk, sage grouse, Montana vole, sage thrasher, wild bison, peregrine falcon, bald eagle, pine marten, fisher, lynx, wolverine, arctic grayling, bull trout, cutthroat trout (Montana%u2019s official state fish), and grizzly bear (Montana%u2019s official state animal)

America's public wildlands Legacy is under severe jeopardy.  As witnessed by S. 1470, the Tester Wildlands Logging Bill, the resource extraction industries' lobbyists are pushing incessantly for taxpayer-subsidized roading, logging, and other industrial development of these unprotected National Forest roadless areas.

These are OUR public wildlife species inhabiting OUR public National Forest wildlands, belonging to ALL Americans.  They should NEVER be "privatized" and handed over to timber, oil, and mining corporations, as proposed by the Tester Wildlands Logging Bill, currently before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resource's Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests.

NREPA designates ALL of the inventoried National Forest roadless areas in the Northern Rockies as Wilderness; protecting some of America's most beautiful and ecologically important lands, while saving taxpayers' money and creating jobs.

By officially designating these remaining roadless wildlands in the Northern Rockies Ecosystem as Wilderness, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA) provides the strongest protection that the federal government can confer on our public wildlands and their many at-risk dependent species.

NREPA establishes a pilot wildland recovery system. Over 6,000 miles of damaging or unused logging roads will be restored to roadless conditions, providing employment for over 2,000 workers while saving tax-dollars from subsidized development of National Forests.

NREPA helps combat global warming by protecting the carbon sink these wildland forests provide.

University of Utah's Museum of History Research Curator William Newmark said, "We are in the midst of the world's sixth major extinction event.  Passage of ecosystem protection bills like NREPA is one of the most effective ways of reducing species loss in western North America."

Carole King, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and a 32-year resident of Idaho, said, "NREPA, the opposite of a top-down bill, was drafted by local residents of the Northern Rockies bioregion, including wildlife biologists, economists, scientists, business owners, and individuals who recognized the need for, and the benefits of, protecting the Northern Rockies Ecosystem."

King continued, "NREPA saves money, creates jobs - let me say that again; CREATES JOBS!! - and protects an ecosystem that includes headwaters of the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Hudson Bay.  Without critical core habitats and crucial biological corridors designated by NREPA, endangered species such as grizzly bears and wolves will be lost.

"Private land is NOT affected by NREPA; grazing and existing mining claims are NOT changed; and environmentally-sustainable logging outside roadless areas will continue," King concluded.

Michael Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and a professional economist, said, "The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act will create high-paying jobs by recovering old logging roads and clearcuts; save taxpayers money; and protect the environment."

Garrity said, "NREPA will save taxpayers $245 million over a ten-year period by managing these public lands as Wilderness.  Additionally, more than 2,300 jobs will be created through NREPA provisions that restore wildlife habitats on public land to their natural states.

"NREPA also helps combat global warming by protecting the carbon sink that these forests provide," Garrity said.  "The Forest Service's own studies show the more forests we protect, the more carbon our National Forests will absorb."

Garrity noted that, during the Clinton administration, the overwhelming majority of Americans commenting on the Forest Service's "Roadless Rule" supported protecting ALL remaining roadless areas over 5,000 acres.  "NREPA, conceived, written, and supported by countless residents here in the Northern Rockies, mirrors that public support."

The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act:

Connects natural, biological corridors, ensuring the continued existence of native plants and animals and mitigating the effects of global warming;

Restores public lands severely damaged from roads built into critical wildlife habitat, creating more than 2,300 jobs and leading to a more sustainable economic base in the region;

Retains irrigation water in undeveloped roadless wildlands for ranchers and farmers downstream until it is most needed; and

Eliminates taxpayer-subsidized logging roads and other development in National Forest roadless wildlands, saving taxpayers $245 million over a 10-year period.

TAKE ACTION:

1.  Sign this petition to the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.

2.  Write your Congressional representative a note supporting NREPA by going to:  www.house.gov/writerep/ .

3.  Send your pro-NREPA e-mail to the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands at:  domenick.carroll@mail.house.gov .

4.  Contact your conservation and outdoors organizations.  Ask them to sign on as NREPA supporters by e-mailing:  awr@wildrockiesalliance.org .  

5.  Join the Alliance for the Wild Rockies at:  http://www.wildrockiesalliance.org/join/index.html .

6.  Join the Last, Best Place Wildlands Campaign at:  http://testerloggingbilltruths.wordpress.com/about/ .


NEED ADDITIONAL INFORMATION?

Further details about the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA) and the Tester Wildlands Logging Bill (which mandates taxpayer-subsidized roading and logging of public roadless wildlands in Montana) can be found at:

Dispatches from the Wildlands, located at:  http://blogs.alternet.org/paulrichards/ ,
http://www.wildrockiesalliance.org/issues/nrepa/index.html ,
http://www.friendsoftheclearwater.org/node/280 , and
http://testerloggingbilltruths.wordpress.com/ .


We, the undersigned, respectfully petition you to support the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA), H.R. 980, sponsored by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Representative Raul Grijavala (D-AZ) and more than 100 other congressional representatives of both parties.

NREPA designates all of the inventoried National Forest roadless areas in the Northern Rockies as wilderness; protecting some of America's most beautiful and ecologically important lands, while saving taxpayers' money and creating jobs in ecological restoration.

To preserve the biological integrity of the Northern Rockies ecosystem, NREPA designates as wilderness nearly 7 million acres in Montana, 9.5 million acres in Idaho, 5 million acres in Wyoming, 750,000 acres in eastern Oregon, and 500,000 acres in eastern Washington.  Included in this total are over 3 million acres of backcountry wilderness in Yellowstone, Glacier and Grand Teton National Parks.

Northern Rockies wildlands are the only place in the lower 48 states where all native species and wildlife remain.  These are OUR National Forest wildlands, belonging to all Americans.  By officially designating these remaining roadless areas as wilderness, NREPA provides the strongest protection that the federal government can confer on public wildlands and dependent species.

Thank you for your consideration.

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