Blog Archives


  • Public Lands for Sale Sign
  • May 4th, 2016

    The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), Utah’s largest conservation organization, has an immediate opening for a full-time field attorney in either its Moab or Salt Lake City office. Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, transcript, 3-5 page writing sample (original work), and 3 references to kya@suwa.org. The deadline to submit your application is May 15, 2016.

    SUWA’s field attorney is a non-litigation position with an emphasis on conducting fieldwork throughout Utah to document wilderness character lands, monitor project proposals, and meet with staff at various Bureau of Land Management (BLM) field offices. The field attorney drafts and submits comments on proposed federal agency activities, including site-specific projects and broad-scale planning efforts; researches, drafts and files administrative appeals; and interacts with federal agency staff, project proponents, scientists, and state and local elected officials. The field attorney works closely with other staff in SUWA’s Moab, Salt Lake City, and Washington, D.C. offices.

    SUWA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the outstanding wilderness at the heart of the Colorado Plateau, and the management of these lands in their natural state for the benefit of all Americans. SUWA promotes local and national recognition of the region’s unique character through research and public education; supports both administrative and legislative initiatives to permanently protect the Colorado Plateau wild places within the National Park and National Wilderness Preservation Systems, or by other protective designations where appropriate; builds support for such initiatives on both the local and national level; and provides leadership within the conservation movement through uncompromising advocacy for wilderness preservation.

    Field Attorney Responsibilities

    • Review environmental analyses and draft/submit comments on projects proposed in wilderness-quality BLM lands in Utah
    • Conduct fieldwork on lands in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, documenting wilderness characteristics, off-road vehicle routes, resource values, and impacts
    • Meet regularly and develop strong relationships with BLM staff in Utah
    • Assist in SUWA’s litigation and legislative efforts throughout the state by becoming familiar with on-the-ground issues, providing photo-documentation and other support
    • Conduct legal research and document review
    • Represent SUWA in appeals before the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA)
    • Negotiate with opposing counsel, BLM staff, and other stakeholders to resolve public lands disputes
    • Monitor BLM’s ePlanning website, track projects, and follow up with BLM staff
    • Communicate with the media
    • Assist in SUWA’s efforts to organize Utah activists in support of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act and other SUWA campaigns

    Requirements

    • Demonstrated commitment to wilderness preservation
    • Excellent writing and analytical skills
    • Initiative, discipline, attention to detail, and an ability to meet deadlines
    • Creative thinking and problem solving
    • Self-motivated
    • Effective legal research skills including familiarity with Westlaw’s legal database
    • Comfortable working in the field in remote country, often alone
    • Self-reliant and able to navigate in rugged landscapes using topographical maps
    • Ability to handle a substantial workload, which will, at times, require working nights and weekends
    • High degree of professional integrity
    • Courtesy and respect in dealing with colleagues, partners, opposing counsel, politicians, the public, the media, and government agencies
    • Willingness to learn GIS mapping
    • Willingness to make a two-year commitment
    • Familiarity with southern Utah wildlands is preferable

    Education Requirements
    0-6 years experience—admitted to practice law by a state bar or willingness to sit for or waive into the Utah state bar.

    Location
    Moab or Salt Lake City, Utah—must also be willing to travel to public lands throughout Utah one or more times per month for fieldwork, meetings with BLM, or other matters.

    Salary
    Competitive—based on experience.

    SUWA is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. SUWA is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.

  • CedarMtns_RayBloxham
    May 3rd, 2016

    Today, a three-judge panel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order that clears the path for Tooele County resident Michael Abdo and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance to move forward with a state court lawsuit that could derail the State of Utah’s RS 2477 litigation in Tooele County and beyond.

    Read More »
  • Bears Ears Buttes (Tim Peterson)
    April 28th, 2016

    On April 24, the Editorial Board of Utah’s largest newspaper, the Salt Lake Tribune, argued strongly for President Obama to designate a Bears Ears National Monument:

    Just about everyone who spoke at Wednesday’s meeting of the Utah Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands was arguing for President Obama to order the creation of a 1.9 million acre Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah.

    So that is exactly what Obama should do.

    Add your voice to the Salt Lake Tribune’s and ask President Obama to Protect Bears Ears now!

    Bears Ears Buttes (Tim Peterson)

    Bears Ears Buttes, copyright Tim Peterson

    The editorial was likely prompted not just by the wide grassroots support for protecting Bears Ears — throughout Utah, among Native Americans, and across the nation — but equally by “the attitude of commission members who [were] so dismissive, uninformed and short-sighted that they were actually, if inadvertently, making the case for Obama to unsheath the federal Antiquities Act [.]”

    As the Tribune editorial points out, Utah politicians don’t seem to understand that:

    . . . decisions made about this and other national monuments, parks and wilderness areas aren’t about Utah. They aren’t about the few who rule over the many in the Legislature or on the San Juan County Commission. They aren’t even really about the United States of America.

    They are about natural and cultural heritage and treasures that belong to all humanity. That the United States, by accidents of history and geography, happens to own that land and owns the duty to care for it in ways that make it available, first to the descendants of those who lived there millennia ago, then to the rest of us.

    Please ask President Obama to Protect Bears Ears now.

    As the Salt Lake Tribune editorial concludes, “Obama [should] end the delay, the bickering and the suspense and create the Bears Ears National Monument.”

    The time to protect Bears Ears is now.

  • April 18th, 2016

    On April 4, the Utah Supreme Court heard oral argument on a pivotal question of state law that could affect the future of the state of Utah’s R.S. 2477 litigation. The question was “certified” by the federal court hearing the state of Utah’s suite of R.S. 2477 claims, a mechanism by which the federal court can enlist the state’s highest court to resolve novel questions of state law.  It’s a wonky question with big implications—whether a particular law is a “statute of repose” or a “statute of limitations.”  Should the Court decide it’s the former, it could mean the end of the state of Utah’s massive, wasteful, and anti-wilderness suite of R.S. 2477 litigation.

    The Court recently posted an audio recording of the argument.  SUWA was represented at oral argument by Jess Krannich, a partner at the Salt Lake City law firm of Manning Curtis Bradshaw & Bednar, LLC.  We expect a decision by the end of this summer, but in the meantime, give it a listen!

    >>Click here to listen to audio recording.

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