SIGN ON LETTER: Congress Must Reschedule Hearing on Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA)

March 21, 2022

The Honorable Joe Neguse

1419 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC, 20515-0602

The Honorable Raúl M. Grijalva

1511 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC, 20515-0303

Dear Representative Neguse,

cc: Representative Grijalva

We, the undersigned, ask you, Rep. Joe Neguse, as chair of the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, to schedule a new Congressional hearing for the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA).

NREPA—already introduced into the House with 58 co-sponsors and in the Senate with 11 co-sponsors—would create biological zones connecting new and existing wilderness and roadless areas over 23 million acres across Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon, and Wyoming.

As it is our understanding that a planned hearing was recently canceled (without any explanation or transparency), we therefore ask you to please reschedule it to allow expert testimony on this historic and timely bill.

With climate change looming as one of the worst crises facing our nation and world today, protecting our carbon-storing public forests is among the most effective—and easiest—actions Congress can take to significantly reduce emissions. For example, a recent study shows that logging emits more carbon than wildfire and insects combined.[1]

Encompassing some of the most ecologically rich lands left in the U.S., our National Forests and public lands managed by BLM (Bureau of Land Management) also filter clean water, prevent flooding and erosion, and provide essential fish habitat and intact wildlife habitat. Unfortunately, these federally owned lands are still open to extraction from private corporations in the form of destructive logging, mining, drilling, and grazing, all subsidized by the American taxpayer. 

Not only is NREPA of crucial importance for protecting this unique and threatened Northern Rockies bioregion across five western states, we believe the bill can act as a model for safeguarding ecosystems across every region of the U.S.

Signed,

Samantha Chirillo, Eco-Integrity Alliance (Oregon)

Michele Dieterich, Eco-Integrity Alliance, Friends of the Bitterroot (Montana)

Gary Macfarlane, Eco-Integrity Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater (Idaho)

Josh Schlossberg, Eco-Integrity Alliance (Colorado)

Janet Torline, Eco-Integrity Alliance (Idaho)

Shannon Wilson, Eco-Integrity Alliance, Eco Advocates NW (Oregon)

Mike Garrity, Alliance for the Wild Rockies (Montana)

Paul Sieracki, Geospatial Analyst/Wildlife Biologist, retired (Idaho)

Denise Boggs, Conservation Congress (Montana)

Keith Hammer, Swan View Coalition (Montana)

Patty Ames, Flathead-Lolo-Bitterroot Citizen Task Force (Montana)

Paula Hood, Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project (Oregon)

Andy Mahler, Shagbark (Indiana)

Steven Krichbaum, PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology (Virginia)

Dr. Joseph Scalia III, Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance (Montana)

Jason Christensen, Yellowstone to Uintas Connection (Idaho)

George Wuerthner, Public Lands Media (Oregon)

George Nickas, Wilderness Watch (Montana)

Matt Peters, Heartwood (Pennsylvania)

Rachel Fazio, John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute (California)

Sam Stearns, Friends of Bell Smith Springs (Illinois)

Phil Knight, Montanans for Gallatin Wilderness (Montana)

Ara Marderosian, Sequoia ForestKeeper (California)


[1] Harris, N.L. et al. 2016. “Attribution of net carbon change by disturbance type across forest lands of the conterminous United States.” Carbon Balance and Management, 11:24.

Published by eco-integrityalliance

The mission of the Eco-Integrity Alliance is to unite the “alternative” environmental movement under a big tent of ecological integrity through common campaigns of mutual support.

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