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  • UpperDeso_AboveUnit_Gasco_RB_1
    October 13th, 2016

    A federal judge recently issued an order rejecting a natural gas project on public lands along the Upper Desolation Canyon stretch of the Green River in eastern Utah. This ruling received local and national media attention.

    The plan at issue in the ruling is part of the highly controversial Gasco Natural Gas Development Project, which the BLM approved in 2012. The “Gasco project” cleared the way for nearly 1,300 new oil and gas wells in Utah’s greater Desolation Canyon region, including 215 new wells, along with roads, pipelines, and other infrastructure in an area that conservationists and federal officials agree is a wilderness-caliber landscape. This 16-well project was one of the first site-specific authorizations to follow.

    The BLM has described the Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness as one of the largest unprotected roadless complexes in the lower 48 states. The area, which surrounds the Desolation Canyon stretch of the Green River, is awe-inspiring, offering spectacular vistas and abundant solitude.

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    The Upper Desolation Canyon stretch of the Green River offers opportunities for solitude, flatwater boating, and camping for both families and river runners alike. Photo copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA

    The Gasco project was heavily criticized in editorials across the country when it was approved in 2012. It was also roundly decried by congressional leaders, the outdoor industry, and environmental leaders, who called on the Interior Department to protect Desolation Canyon.

    The 16-well project at issue in the judge’s ruling was slated for construction on three drilling pads adjacent to the Upper Desolation Canyon stretch of the Green River—a section of water that offers opportunities for families and river runners to enjoy solitude between high canyon walls, sandy beaches and groves of cottonwood trees.

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    Upper Desolation Canyon. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    The BLM’s approval of the Gasco project and the 16-well project came at a time when eastern Utah had experienced several years of record high wintertime ozone levels that are largely the result of oil and gas development. The recent court decision held that the BLM’s evaluation of air pollution, and in particular ozone pollution, was inaccurate and inadequate. The judge also agreed with us that the agency did not seriously consider the noise from drilling these wells and how that would affect river runners and families.

    A big thank you to all our members who submitted comments on the Gasco project, wrote letters to the editor opposing the project, or otherwise supported our efforts to send this one back to the drawing board. We couldn’t have done it without you!

    This case was brought by SUWA, Natural Resources Defense Council and The Wilderness Society. A team of SUWA attorneys staffed this case, led by our former colleague David Garbett.

  • October 11th, 2016

    The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), Utah’s largest conservation organization, has an immediate opening for a full-time Latino Community Organizer in its Salt Lake City office.  Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, 2 page writing sample (original work), and 3 references to dave@suwa.org. The deadline to submit your application is November 23, 2016. Please include your name and the words “Latino Community Organizer” in the subject line.

    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.

    Description
    The overall goal of the Latino Community Organizer is to broaden SUWA’s base of support to reflect the changing demographic of the American public by building Latino community support in Utah, ultimately laying the foundation for Latino activism on our issues across the country.

    The primary focus of SUWA’s Latino Community Organizer is building, maintaining and demonstrating support within the Latino community in Utah for SUWA’s congressional and administrative efforts to protect Utah’s wilderness lands.

    Working with the organizing team, the organizer will plan and implement Latino organizing activities in Utah with an initial focus on the Wasatch Front, and develop and maintain a grassroots and grass tops network of Latino community supporters.  The organizer is a flexible team player who works cooperatively with SUWA staff, volunteers and activists to build and demonstrate support for protecting Utah’s wilderness lands among the broader population as needed.

    Qualifications
    To effectively perform this role, the applicant must possess excellent verbal and written communication skills, the ability to build and maintain relationships, and a strong grasp of social media including best practices. The applicant should also be self-motivated and committed to the preservation of wilderness. Bilingual proficiency preferred. Acquaintance with the Utah Latino community is a plus. Demonstrated experience in and enthusiasm for grassroots organizing strongly preferred. Experience in wilderness and/or public lands issues, or with Congress, is preferred but not required.

    Responsibilities

    • Work with campaign directors and the organizing team to develop and implement strategies advancing SUWA’s multiple wilderness campaigns, including America’s Redrock Wilderness Act, the Bears Ears National Monument campaign, and SUWA’s campaign to block Utah’s anti-federal “land grab.”
    • Organize support for SUWA’s mission within any strategic constituency as deemed pertinent by campaign directors.
    • Research and identify existing Latino community groups, leaders and key individuals who can advise SUWA on where and how to engage their community. Seek and follow through on their advice.
    • Identify events, venues and activities where SUWA can interact, educate and engage members of the Latino community (tabling, presentations, service projects, articles in publications, colleges, community gatherings, festivals, etc.) and engage them through presentations, information tables, speaking opportunities, etc.
    • Identify key media and visibility opportunities for Utah’s Latino community on SUWA’s issues and follow through with supporters through strategic placement of Letters to the Editor, Opinion commentaries, and other writing.
    • Build and expand SUWA’s social media outreach to Utah’s Latino community through the use of Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other platforms and services as appropriate.
    • Meet with representatives of organizations and institutions within the Latino community to learn the ways in which individuals and family interact with wild places.
    • Help SUWA frame our public land issues so they are relevant to the Latino community.
    • Help identify strategic opportunities for collaboration on issues of concern to the Latino community that are within the general reach of SUWA’s mission.
    • Network with other Latino community organizers who work on wilderness and/or public lands issues in the western U.S. Seek their advice and learn from their efforts. Possible travel to implement organizing efforts to areas outside Utah may be a future consideration.
    • Develop bilingual materials as needed.

    Salary and Benefits

    Salary is competitive, based on experience.

    A competitive benefits package includes health care coverage, a retirement plan, and paid vacation and sick days. Opportunities for additional training are available.

    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.

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