April 20, 2021

30 County Commissioners & Mayors Announce Support For Chairman Neguse’s Civilian Climate Corps Proposal to Address Colorado Wildfires

Frisco, CO — Today, 30 County Commissioners and Mayors from across the State of Colorado sent a letter to President Joe Biden expressing their support for Congressman and Chairman of the Public Lands Subcommittee Joe Neguse’s 21st Century Conservation Corps Act — which will invest billions in reforestation, wildfire resiliency and watershed mitigation efforts. The letter also asked for continued partnership from the White House in ensuring the bill becomes law. Additionally, 21 Colorado conservation groups shared a similar support letter highlighting provisions in the bill that will benefit Colorado’s lands, tackle western wildfires and address the climate crisis.

A few weeks ago, President Biden cited Congressman Neguse’s civilian climate corps proposal, including a $10 billion fund to create the corps, in his American Jobs Plan.

“I’m grateful to the many local and community leaders for their support of our Civilian Climate Corps legislation, which would make major investments in reforestation, wildfire resiliency, watershed mitigation, climate adaptation and more,” said Congressman Neguse.

The 21st Century Civilian Climate Corps plan would take a page out of FDR’s New Deal program to recreate the corps of the 1930s, which built Red Rocks, roads, trails and campgrounds in Rocky Mountain National Park and supported other projects throughout Colorado. Neguse’s proposed 21st Century Civilian Climate Corp would reimagine this program, and put hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work in the wake of the COVID-19 economic crisis. The plan additionally would support Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry and address outdoor access by investing in the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Program and Every Kid Outdoors Program. Given record-breaking wildfires across Colorado in 2020, including the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome Fires, two of the largest in state history, historic investments to address future wildfires are crucial. 

“Wildfire Resiliency Support is critical for Breckenridge’s sustainable future,” said Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula. “Living in the forest and urban interface, Breckenridge is in a constant state of balancing forest health, wildfire mitigation, and infrastructure protection. A 21st Century Civilian Climate Corps would ensure that we can continue to protect both our community and our public lands, while also ensuring the economic viability of our town, state, and country for many years to come.”

“After witnessing the largest wildfire in Colorado history this fall, Larimer County knows firsthand the need for investments in wildfire suppression, adaptation and recovery,” said Loveland Mayor Jacki Marsh. “Congressman Neguse's 21st Century Civilian Climate Corps proposal not only provides historic investments to tackle western wildfires and help our communities, but it would also put a new generation to work to assist with the projects. With this proposal we have a unique opportunity to not only repair our public health and economy, but to also restore our environment and protect our watersheds.”

“For Larimer County and Colorado, the need to address wildfires, invest in forest health and protect our watersheds is clear,” said Larimer County Commissioner John Kefalas. “Following this year’s historic Cameron Peak wildfire, this proposal provides the resources we need to invest in wildfire suppression, mitigation, resiliency and recovery. This bill will go a long way to support our communities and protect our environment.”

“In Colorado, we understand the pressing need for increased resources to manage our public lands, as well as the urgency of addressing record-breaking wildfires like those we saw in Colorado and across the west this past year,” said Gunnison County Commissioner Jonathan Houck. “The 21st Century Conservation Corps Act, as proposed by Congressman Neguse addresses both needs, and will put Americans and Coloradans struggling from the COVID-19 crisis back to work to begin these important projects. The proposal provides historic investments that will support Colorado across the board, by investing in our economy, our outdoor recreation industry, our lands and our forests.”

 “The President’s $10 billion proposal for a 21st Century Climate Corps recognizes the significant role public lands and the outdoor industry play in our nation’s economy and the health of our communities,” said Jim Ramey, Colorado State Director for The Wilderness Society. “Fortunately, Rep. Neguse has provided the legislative playbook to utilize that $10 billion to spur the economic recovery, put people to work stewarding our local parks and national treasures, and support equitable access to quality close-to-home parks for communities most in need. We urge Congress to pass the 21st Century Climate Corps as part of the American Jobs Plan.”

“Climate change is already having devastating impacts on our communities and natural landscapes – threatening our economy and way of life. The 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act invests resources into locally driven projects with justice and equity in mind. It would help Colorado build back better, all while moving us closer to the goal of protecting and restoring 30 percent of our lands and water by 2030,” said Jessica Goad, Deputy Director, Conservation Colorado. “We look forward to working with Representative Neguse and the rest of the Colorado delegation to advance this generational proposal to create jobs, tackle climate change, and improve the resilience of public lands and water.”

“Boulder County, and our entire region, will be recovering from last year’s historic wildfire season for years to come,” said Boulder County Commissioners Matt Jones, Marta Loachamin, and Clair Levy. “Congressman Neguse’s proposed Civilian Climate Corps will support that recovery through an ambitious workforce development and job training effort focused on wildfire resilience, forest restoration, and protection of our watersheds. This legislation will also support our post-pandemic economic recovery by creating significant new job training and employment opportunities. It will help us prepare and learn more about wildfire mitigation and the impacts of fires on all Coloradoans.”

“Just like much of the west, Colorado experienced devastating and relentless wildfires this year. As a result it’s incredibly clear that investments in fire mitigation and response, and investments in our public lands and forests are long overdue,” said San Miguel County Commissioner Hilary Cooper. “Congressman Neguse’s 21st Century Civilian Climate Corps proposal would make these investments across the board in Colorado’s environment and our economy, by addressing more frequent wildfires, restoring our public lands and supporting outdoor guides and retailers. As we navigate the COVID-19 recovery, this proposal will be crucial for the west to get back to work meeting the challenges faced by our communities.”

Read the letter of support from Colorado Mayors and County Commissioners here. 

Read the letter of support from Colorado organizations here.