I am very happy to see my senator, Sheldon Whitehouse, introduced the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, into the Senate. This would protect 23 million acres of roadless lands as wilderness through the region, providing the large-scale protections necessary to keep species viable in this region currently undergoing tremendous stress from climate change. It’s not like this is going to get passed in Congress as it is presently constituted. But there is no good reason to log these largely high-elevation lands or develop them in any other sort of way. The economic gain would be minimal and short-term, with long-term damage to water supplies, fish runs, and wildlife populations. Plus there is tremendous tourism-based economic possibilities around such a bill that will have a much longer and larger economic impact that a few logging operations here and there. At the very least, a bill like this sets the stage for a future public lands bill the next time Democrats control the presidency and both houses of Congress, which will indeed happen someday.