Letter to the editor: Ask Sens. Bennet, Hickenlooper to ensure CORE Act is passed this year | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Ask Sens. Bennet, Hickenlooper to ensure CORE Act is passed this year

Frank Lilly

Thank you, Sen. Michael Bennet for your tireless efforts to pass the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy, or CORE, Act in the U.S. Senate. Locally, the benefits of CORE would be immediate, adding over 20,000 acres to our three local wilderness areas, creating three new local wildernesses, establishing the Tenmile Recreation Management Area with 10,000 nonwilderness acres allowing mountain biking, and designating Camp Hale as the first National Historic Landscape, honoring our World War II veterans. Overall, CORE would protect 400,000 acres of Colorado public lands from development (or just 1.8% of Colorado’s existing public lands).

CORE was passed by the U.S. House as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act and is currently being considered by the Senate. Now both senators from Colorado must do everything possible to ensure that CORE isn’t stripped out of the National Defense Authorization Act.

We all recognize how essential outdoor recreation is to keeping our mountain economies healthy (not to mention helping us stay healthy and sane). Preserving our natural lands also plays a critical role in combating climate change and may be the least-expensive tool in our climate-protection arsenal. Climate change is an existential threat to all life on Earth. Even our defense department recognizes this threat in the recent Defense Department Climate Risk Analysis, stating that “To keep the nation secure, we must tackle the existential threat of climate change.”

CORE Act lands provide essential environmental services, cleaning our air and water while sequestering over 2.5 tons of carbon per acre per year in conifer forests. A conservative estimate of CORE Act lands puts carbon sequestration benefits alone at 1 million tons per year.

Please contact Sens. Bennet and John Hickenlooper today, and urge them to fight tirelessly to ensure the CORE Act is passed this year.

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