Letters of Endorsement

Below is a small sampling from the many letters received in support of NREPA.

“NREPA heralds a new era in public lands management, based upon securing the integrity of the ecosystem in a biologically and economically sustainable way. NREPA is also cost-effective legislation. It will eliminate the practice of below-cost timber sales that have burdened taxpayers to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

NREPA has the strong support of the American People, who own these public lands. At a time when only 5% of America’s original pristine forests still remain, it is our duty and obligation to protect and restore these national treasures as we have enjoyed them and been sustained by them physically, mentally, and spiritually.”
— former President Jimmy Carter, GA

“Earth Ministry is pleased to join our voice, along with all the other organizations, to endorse the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act. We are ecumenical, Christian, environmental ministry representing over 3,300 constituents.”
— Rev. James T. Mulligan, Executive Director Seattle, WA

“REP America, the national grassroots organization of Republicans for Environmental Protection, fully supports the NREPA. NREPA offers a scientifically-sound, economically-sensible approach to conserving our heritage of wild places.”
— Martha A. Marks, President Deerfield, IL

“Friends of the West is an organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of Idaho’s native wildlife, especially predators, and their habitat. We in the Northwest would all benefit with the passage of NREPA.”
— Kathy Richmond, Vice President Clayton, ID

“On behalf of the Sierra Club’s more than half-million members, I want to thank you [Rep. Shays and Maloney] for being a primary cosponsor of the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act. The NREPA is a critical and visionary piece of legislation.”
— Carl Pope, Executive Director San Francisco, CA

“It is, without question, the foremost piece of legislation brought before Congress since the Wilderness Act of 1964. Ecologically, this is the smartest wilderness bill to date.”
— Cabinet Resource Group Trout Creek, MT

“NREPA is a fantastic bill, providing wilderness areas that are based upon sound ecological principles.”
— Jim Nuess, president, Blue Mountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited Pendleton, OR

“On behalf of the more than 35,000 members of the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club I am writing to thank you [Rep. Maloney] for your courageous action in introducing the NREPA. The remaining roadless federal lands in the Northern Rockies which are included in this proposal are a national treasure of incalculable value to all Americans.”
— Don Young, Chair Atlantic Chapter New York, NY

“NREPA embodies a serious effort to prevent the losses to taxpayers that result from current management of the region.”
— Jill Lancelot, National Taxpayers Union Washington, DC

“The Missoula-Bitterroot Chapter of the Montana Wilderness Association officially endorsed the NREPA.”
— Michael Jarnevic, Chapter President Bonner, MT

“I find it commendable, through bills such as NREPA, that the American people have found common cause with the spirit and philosophies of our Native North Americans.”
— Chief Floyd Heavy Runner, Blackfeet Crazy Dogs Society Heart Butte, MT

“I am proud to announce that Oregon Wildlife Federation’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to support and endorse the NREPA. A bioregional approach is certainly the right way to improve and protect our intact ecosystems and is a model for conservation groups worldwide.”
— Stu Sugarman, President Portland, OR

“Pilchuck Audubon Society passed a resolution supporting NREPA.”
— Bonnie Phillips-Howard, Conservation Chair Stanwood, WA

“Lighthawk believes that the NREPA is necessary to preserve this unique and priceless ecosystem, and thus calls upon our elected officials to protect our national heritage and work towards passage of NREPA.”
— Les Welsh, Regional Director, NW field office Seattle, WA

“An exemplary piece of proposed legislation based on the best available scientific thought on what it takes to maintain biological diversity. Without it, I fear the worst for the future of the Northern Rockies.”
— Dr. Reed Noss, Ecologist and Conservation Biologist

“This legislation offers a comprehensive approach to protecting the best undeveloped lands of the Rockies.”
— Ron Mitchell, executive director, Idaho Sportsmen Coalition Boise, ID

“NREPA is a grassroots proposal which should be seen as an aggressive and logical response to the political gaming that has characterized this issue in the past.”
— Last Chance Audubon Society Helena, MT

“The strength of NREPA is its ecological foundation which brings the best science to bear within a piece of legislation. It would bring stability to the rural economies of the region by protecting the multi-million dollar outfitting, fishing, and recreation industries while bringing a measure of predictability and stability to the timber industry of the region.”
— Association of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics Eugene, OR

“Presently, the best bill for the defense of our remaining unprotected de facto wilderness is the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act.”
— David Brower, founder of Earth Island Institute and Friends of the Earth, former executive director of the Sierra Club

Endangered Species Coalition

Dear Representative Rahall and Representative Grijalva,

The Endangered Species Coalition., representing nearly 400 groups across the Nation, is happy to have the opportunity to offer its wholehearted support for H.R. 980, and to urge its passage by the Committee at the earliest possible date. We request that our statement be made part of the official record of the hearings on this subject.

Because the aim and purpose of the ESC and our member organizations is to achieve the maximum possible protection for imperiled species and their habitats, we could hardly imagine any other legislative enactment in recent times which would do more to advance our nation’s commitment to those imperiled plants and animals – a permanent commitment first enunciated by the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Indeed, because of its vast scope and reach, and its emphasis on science as the basis for its protections, NREA is a truly visionary statement of the highest order. If it becomes law, its vision and its specific provisions will likely become the marker, and benchmark, for all future conservation laws. NREA shows us the pathway to achieve a truly healthy and productive public lands estate which can benefit all Americans, far into the future.

If enacted, NREA would add over 20 million acres of federal lands in the Northern Rockies to the nation’s National Wilderness Preservation System, thus immediately extending the highest possible protections to such increasingly rare endangered animals as the grizzly bear, northern grey wolf, bull trout, and hundreds of others. Given that our nation’s remaining splendid heritage of public lands is so often a ‘last stand’ for too many such plants and animals, NREA would ensure their continued survival, forever.

Another enormous benefit to wildlife in NREA is its provision requiring restoration to ecological health of additional millions of acres in the same region, now heavily damaged by years of resource over-extraction and indiscriminate use of recreational vehicles. Since many of these places are located in the heart of the all-important connecting ‘biological corridors’ that all species must have to find food, shelter, and reproduce, again it is difficult to imagine a bill more consonant with our growing scientific knowledge of the true requirements needed to sustain a truly functioning ecosystem.

These facts about NREA, standing alone, are more than sufficient reason for the ESC to urge prompt passage by this Committee. But there is another reason, perhaps the most compelling and important of all. That reason, already noted above, is because of its grand vision: a vision of a different, and much more sustainable, future for our nation’s public lands.

NREA is much more than a land protection statute. Science-based and comprehensive enough in its scope to truly maintain and protect our public lands heritage far into the future, if enacted it would become one America’s greatest conservation statutes – right up there with the Parks Organic Act, the Wilderness Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Alaska National Interest Lands Act.

We urge its speedy enactment. Thank you.

Brock Evans
Endangered Species Coalition
P.O. Box 65195
Washington, D.C., 20035

The Humane Society

Dear Chairman Rahall,

On behalf of The Humane Society of the United States, and our more than 11 million supporters, I am writing in strong support of H.R. 980, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act of 2009 (NREPA).

This legislation, introduced by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rául Grijalva (D-AZ), will designate as wilderness all of the inventoried roadless areas in the Northern Rockies.

This is the strongest federal protection available for public land. NREPA will protect nearly 23 million acres of wilderness in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington, including 3 million acres in Yellowstone, Glacier and Grand Teton National Parks.

Additionally, the act will restore 6,000 miles of unused or damaged roads to roadless condition, creating employment for over 2,000 workers while safeguarding numerous indigenous species including grizzly bears, elk, bison, wolves, trout and salmon.

Protecting wildlife habitat is an essential ingredient in protecting wildlife. The HSUS is happy to endorse this legislation, and we look forward to its passage in the U.S. Congress.

Wayne Pacelle
President and CEO
The Humane Society

Natural Resources Defense Council

Dear Chairman Rahall,

The Natural Resources Defense Council is pleased to add its name to the list of supporters of H.R. 980, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act. NREPA will protect 24 million acres of the best federal lands across Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington. Its adoption will be a giant step toward ensuring that the national heritage we treasure and benefit so greatly from is passed along to future generations unimpaired.

The lands this visionary bill will permanently safeguard comprise the last, intact, big wild ecosystem in the lower 48 states. These mountains, forests, and prairielands represent the dazzling natural heritage of a vast, blessed country at its grandest and most rich. From the Kettle Range to the Wind Rivers, NREPA will protect for all time the last best wildlands we have, south of Alaska. A feast for the eye and respite for the soul, they are also the critical habitat for hundreds of hard-pressed species: grizzlies, wolverines, caribou, bull trout, lynx, and sockeye, among many others. Source of clear, cold water, buffer against floods, wildfire, and invasive species, our most resilient refugia in a warming world, NREPAs lands are beyond price. By protecting them, we will save something of the essence of America, stem the loss of natures grandeur, shelter our fellow creatures, immeasurably enrich future generations, and set a shining example for other nations.
We look forward with anticipation to passage of this landmark bill.

Nathaniel Lawrence Director, Forestry Project
Natural Resources Defense Council

The Sierra Club

Dear Representative,

On behalf of the more than 1.3 million members and supporters of the Sierra Club, I am writing to urge you to support the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA). Introduced by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), the bill will provide long-lasting protection for the iconic landscape and the irreplaceable wildlife that reside there. The US Northern Rockies is perhaps the only place in the lower 48 that retains its entire native species since the arrival of Europeans. The bill uses a combination of time-tested tools and visionary new proposals to protect and restore more than 24 million acres of public land in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, eastern Oregon, and eastern Washington.

Pristine areas will be protected through designations such as Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers. The bill will break new ground by establishing biological corridors to connect core habitat and isolated blocks of existing wildlands. These biological bridges would permit the migration and genetic interchange of plants and animals, preventing in-breeding and ensuring species vigor. The bill also establishes a pilot system of nine National Wildland Recovery Areas to restore vital ecosystem components damaged by roads, clear cuts, overgrazing, and mining activities. Existing water rights and Native American treaty rights are protected under this legislation.

NREPA will create over 2,300 good, green jobs promoting watershed protection, flood protection, and the restoration of damaged habitat. These jobs will support the region’s long-term economic security, which relies on fish and wildlife, clean water, recreation and the scenic values that NREPA would protect. Nationwide, the bill could save taxpayers $245 million over ten years by prohibiting subsidized roadbuilding and money-losing timber sales in key National Forest areas. Please join us in supporting the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act and helping to provide a vision of restoration and preservation for all of America’s wild legacy.

Carl Pope
Executive Director