Rep. Maloney Introduces Legislation to Protect Pristine Northern Rockies Ecosystem
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) today introduced the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA) to protect, as permanent wilderness, the dwindling wildlands across five states of the Northern Rocky Mountains. The bill would give permanent wilderness protection to 23 million acres of America’s premier roadless lands in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon and Washington and designate approximately 1,800 miles of rivers and streams as Wild and Scenic Rivers.
“This legislation would preserve an important part of our country’s beautiful wilderness for future generations, secure an important habitat for wildlife, and help fight climate change in the process,” said Rep. Maloney. “It is up to us to be stewards of the earth and preserve these irreplaceable resources for our children and their children.”
“Trees store carbon. Hundreds of millions of trees store a whole lot of carbon, which slows climate change, which slows the rising of oceans,” said songwriter, longtime Idaho resident, and NREPA advocate Carole King. “By ending deforestation on more than 23 million acres of public land, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act addresses climate change in a big way. By passing NREPA, Congress can give species a chance to thrive and stop the use of federal tax dollars from destroying the last of these incredibly beautiful and important wild places owned by all Americans.”
“We thank Representative Maloney and all of the cosponsors for introducing NREPA in the House,” said Mike Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. “The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act will save taxpayers millions of dollars annually by eliminating wasteful subsidies to the logging industry while also protecting the vast forests that are some of our nation’s best and most effective tools to fight climate change. Protection of all the carbon the Northern Rockies Ecosystem stores is an important contribution by the United States to our initial commitment to the Paris Agreement, that we should do our best to honor through legislation even after the President’s withdrawal."
National Forests absorb an astounding 10 percent of the carbon that America creates and unlogged and old growth forests absorb the most carbon. The Northern Rockies are headwaters to three of our country's major waterways that provide water to tens of millions of Americans -- the Columbia, Colorado and Missouri Rivers. In addition to protecting these precious watersheds, NREPA would preserve the natural biological corridors that are critical for a vast array of fish and wildlife while connecting some of the last remaining intact ecosystems in the contiguous 48 states.
Other original cosponsors of the bill include;
The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act will:
- Designate all of the inventoried roadless areas in the Northern Rockies as wilderness, protecting 23 million acres of land that is home to vital ecosystems and watersheds
- Establish a system to connect biological corridors, ensuring the continued existence of native plants and animals
- Keep water available for ranchers and farmers downstream until later in the season when it is most needed
- Allow for historic uses such as hunting, fishing and firewood gathering
- Protect forest canopies that absorb greenhouse gases