Jon Houston, Maloney, (202) 225-7944
Eben Burnham-Snyder, Markey, (202) 225-2836
Adam Sarvana, Grijalva, (202) 225-2435
Mike Garrity, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, (406) 459-5936
–HR 3334 would preserve 23 million acres in Northern Rockies–
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Edward Markey (D-MA) and 25 other House Members introduced H.R. 3334, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA). The bill seeks to protect 23 million acres in the dwindling wildlands of the Northern Rocky Mountains, one of America’s greatest natural treasures.
“With Americans vacationing closer to home, our national parks have seen an increase in visitors in the last few years—a clear indication of America’s love for our wild national treasures,” said Rep. Maloney. “These lands remain in much the same condition as when Lewis & Clark explored them more than 200 years ago and still contain a wealth of native species and wildlife. We must do everything possible to preserve natural habitats in the Northern Rockies so these wilderness areas can be enjoyed by future generations of Americans.”
“The Rocky Mountains are literally the backbone of our nation,” said Mike Garrity, Executive Director of the Montana-based Alliance for the Wild Rockies. “These lands are the headwaters of some of the nation’s largest rivers and produce clean water for millions of Americans, from farmers and ranchers to thousands of municipalities throughout the West. The Rockies are increasingly under attack every day by logging, mining, and roadbuilding. Wilderness designation is the strongest and most permanent protection Congress can bestow upon this natural legacy and the need to do so now is undeniable.”
“We need to preserve our wild lands not just today and tomorrow, but for the future of the West and the entire country,” said Rep. Grijalva, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on National Parks. “There’s no reason to keep debating or delaying—setting aside some of the most valuable and sensitive land in the country makes good sense both economically and environmentally. When it comes to our treasured public spaces, Congress can’t just step back and hope for the best. We owe it to ourselves and our children to keep this land in trust, and I’m proud to co-sponsor a bill that does that.”
“Wilderness is an invaluable natural resource and it is dwindling rapidly,” said Rep. Markey, Ranking Member of the Committee on Natural Resources. “I am pleased to work with Congresswoman Maloney on efforts to preserve wilderness for future generations.”
Singer, songwriter and activist Carole King has advocated for NREPA since the measure was first introduced in 1992. “As important as it is for Congress to ensure that our grandchildren don’t inherit a massive national debt, it’s equally important to protect their natural heritage,” King explained. “Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act will protect land owned by each and every American and put an end to year after year of wasteful destruction and taxpayer-subsidized, money-losing timber sales.”
The legislation includes a process for States and tribal governments to negotiate management plans to protect the critical migratory and biological corridors that are essential to the continued existence of several threatened and endangered species. NREPA will safeguard only federal public lands—lands owned by all Americans—in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington, and does not affect private landowners. It also allows for historic uses such as hunting, fishing and firewood gathering.
NREPA has received bipartisan co-sponsorship in Congress and broad support from environmental and business groups who recognize the value of preserving the region’s natural beauty. In the 111th Congress, the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held a legislative hearing on NREPA (H.R. 980 in the 111th Congress).
Information about the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act can be found on Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s website. NREPA Bill Summary & Status is available on the Library of Congress THOMAS website.