Call Your Representatives

and ask them to help defend and protect public lands.

There are a plethora of political and legislative threats facing our country’s public lands right now. Ask your representative to vote against these bills.

If you don’t already know who your representative is, find out.

You’ll need to know your Congressional District!

Pick a bill relating to public lands in Minnesota, either from the list below or any other issue that you feel passionately about.

HR 232 – State National Forest Management Act of 2017

This bill would allow for up to 2 million acres of National Forest land to be selected and transferred to state management for the primary purpose of timber production.

HR 3115 – Superior National Forest Land Exchange Act of 2017

This bill gives specific tracts of Superior National Forest Land to Poly Met Mining Corporation in exchange for non-federal lands in St. Louis and Lake County.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 – passed

Includes a provision that opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling

Clean Water Act passed in 1972

In 2015, President Obama added a new rule called the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) to the Clean Water Act, which clarified the waterways protected under the act to include wetlands and streams. In 2017, Trump started a review of the WOTUS definition in order to not interfere with promoting economic growth. The Supreme Court then ruled that changes to WOTUS must go through District courts. However, there are still current attempts to roll back this Act, which ensures the protection of more than 2 million miles of rivers and streams and the drinking water for ⅓ of the population of the U.S.

Read about the bill and how it affects your public lands.

Think about what you want to say, and maybe draft up a few bullet points to help guide you.

Here is a sample script:

Hello [representative], my name is [insert name] and I live in [city]. I am a constituent concerned about the future of US public lands, and I want to make a statement about why our public lands should continue to be protected. 

I’m sure that you can recall a time when you enjoyed being outside in nature, away from civilization and development, and how special that time was for you. I believe we must do everything in our power to protect outdoor places, because once we lose them, they are gone forever. With our country’s growing population and its demand for resources and energy, it more important now than ever before that we protect our country’s public lands and outdoor spaces from threats such as mining and energy corporations, so that Americans will always have wilderness areas to visit and enjoy.

I have some serious concerns about [name of bill], and I urge you to vote against this bill. If this bill is passed… [reason not to pass the bill].

Thank you for listening.

Here is a specific example script for HR 3115:

Hello, my name is [insert name] and I live in [city]. I am a constituent concerned about the future of Minnesota’s public lands and I want to make a statement about why our public lands should continue to be protected.  

I have some serious concerns about the consequences of bill HR 3115, the Superior National Forest Land Exchange Act of 2017. Should National Forest land be given to PolyMet Mining Corporation in exchange for non-federal lands in the nearby counties, there will be a serious problem facing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Sulfide-ore copper mining has a history of severely polluting the watersheds of the land they operate on and is exacerbated by wet landscapes and the movement of water. Considering that the BWCA is mainly made of up water, the spread of toxic waste and pollutants through the groundwater, lakes and streams will be rapid and irreversible for up to 500 years. I urge you to stop the progression of this Act because it will damage the nation’s most visited wilderness area. There are thousands of people who visit the BWCA each year and the outdoor recreation industry in the area is booming. There is much more economic viability when it comes to outdoor activities than short-term, boom and bust cycles of mining and drilling.

I strongly urge you to visit the BWCA yourself in order to see firsthand the beauty of the region and to fully understand how mining will damage and pollute the pristine waterways of the BWCA.

Thank you for listening. 

 

Tips and Strategies:

  1. Call a state or district office first.
  2. Leave a voicemail. If voicemail is full, press “0”. This will typically connect you to a receptionist who may be able to take your message or transfer you to a voicemail that isn’t full.
  3. Call the national office, if you can’t get through. Or to see if you can get a real person.
  4. Be prepared to give your name and your location. You can refer to yourself as a constituent and they might not sk.
  5. Note that the operator is likely using some kind of form to mark your call. Make sure that you name issues specifically and are concise with what you want to say.