MISSOULA—The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA), H.R. 488, has obtained it’s 100th congressional sponsor in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Albert Wynn (D-MD) became the 100th sponsor. This represents a new milestone and creates significant momentum and credibility towards its eventual passage.
The century mark means that nearly one out of every four members of the House of Representatives is an official sponsor of NREPA. The unwritten math of legislation is that for every official sponsor, there is another positive vote on the floor of the House. This means NREPA is now within striking distance of a simple majority within the House of Representatives.
Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT), lead sponsor of NREPA, said, “I am so grateful my colleagues have recognized the importance of this environmentally strong and fiscally responsible legislation. The 100 sponsor mark indicates more people than ever realize the necessity of protecting our wild lands from the threat of increasingly fragmented and isolated biological systems. Now we must continue to educate yet more members of Congress of the need for comprehensive ecosystem-wide protection of our public lands with economically and ecologically sustainable measures.”
“This shows that there really is a groundswell of support for NREPA; and we’re on our way to making passage a reality,” said singer-songwriter Carole King, a member of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies board of directors.
“While there is still a lot of mountain to climb, the century mark is very significant,” said Mike Bader, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. “We’ve gone far beyond what anybody thought we could achieve. We are changing the political reality regarding wilderness ecosystem protection.”
The NREPA supporters added that it is now clear from the public support for protection of all National Forest roadless areas that the trend is towards formal and permanent protection for the last of America’s wildest lands. While the Forest Service roadless initiative would provide some level of administrative protection, NREPA would provide the lasting protection of wilderness designation, guaranteeing their protection in perpetuity for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people.
ALLIANCE FOR THE WILD ROCKIES
PO Box 8731
Missoula, MT 59807
fax: (406) 721-9917