Blog Archives - Page 2 of 119


  • Winter Ridge WSA
    July 15th, 2016

    After years of missed deadlines, Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) finally introduced his long-delayed Public Lands Initiative (PLI) yesterday.  As anticipated, the PLI fails to protect Utah’s remarkable public lands and divests the American people of their public lands heritage. There is no chance this terrible bill could be passed in the few days left in this Congress, and it serves only as an effort to forestall President Obama from designating a Bears Ears National Monument.

    Utah’s congressional delegation will no doubt repeat ad nauseam their talking point about 4.6 million acres of federal land “designated for conservation” in the PLI.  Don’t believe it. The big acreages proffered by Rep. Bishop are disingenuous, as a hard look at the bill reveals that the PLI is a cobbled together mess that maximizes resource extraction and includes land “protections” riddled with loopholes.

    A pro-development bill disguised as conservation

    Among the laundry list of unacceptable provisions of the bill, the PLI:

    •  Fails to protect 62% of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act as designated wilderness and opens up currently protected lands, such as Wilderness Study Areas, to energy development and off-road vehicle use.

    Winter Ridge WSA

    Under the PLI, Winter Ridge would be released from Wilderness Study Area designation and opened up for fossil fuel development. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    •  Substitutes bastardized National Conservation Areas (NCAs) that enshrine the Bush-era management plans that designated thousands of miles of off-road vehicle routes; allows designation and development of new motorized trails; green-lights vegetation manipulation projects (such as pinyon-juniper clearcuts); mandates livestock grazing; declares that no more wilderness can be protected in these areas; and limits federal land managers’ ability to protect natural and cultural resources.

    •  Fails to protect over half a million acres of the Bears Ears region as proposed by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition; diminishes the Coalition’s voice in management of the reduced Bears Ears NCA by creating a 10-member advisory committee with only one tribal representative; promotes motorized recreation in this archaeologically rich region; allows grazing in currently closed areas like Grand Gulch, Fish, Owl, and Arch Canyons; and prohibits the agency from protecting hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness.

    White Canyon. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    White Canyon and most of its side tributaries in the Bears Ears region would remain unprotected in the PLI, leaving the area vulnerable to mineral extraction. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    •  Seizes authority from public land managers and instead gives the State of Utah control over the permitting and regulation of all forms of energy development on millions of acres of federal lands and, in doing so, likely eviscerates meaningful energy leasing reform such as the nearly completed Moab Master Leasing Plan.

    •  Codifies the abysmal Bush-era motorized travel plans in protected areas and prohibits future closures of any motorized route for natural or cultural resources concerns.

    •  Grants thousands of miles of claimed R.S. 2477 routes to the State of Utah while allowing for continued litigation over R.S. 2477 routes within areas designated as wilderness, NCAs, and Recreation Areas.

    •  Unleashes a carbon bomb by transferring large blocks of federal land to the State of Utah for tar sand, oil shale, potash, coal, oil, and gas development. These blocks are located in the remote Book Cliffs, in high-value scenic and recreation lands near the Green River west of Moab, on Hatch Point bordering Canyonlands National Park, near the world-renowned San Rafael Swell, and in the Uintah Basin.

    Bitter Creek (Ray Bloxham)

    Significant portions of the Bitter Creek proposed wilderness would be given to the State of Utah for fossil fuel development. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    •  Permanently establishes livestock grazing as a priority across southern and eastern Utah and would result in both increased and new grazing in areas currently closed by federal land agencies due to natural and cultural resource damage.

    •  Furthers the State of Utah’s land grab efforts by transferring federal land to the state, without compensation, for facility development and increased motorized and non-motorized recreation.

    •  Rewards dangerous anti-government activity by granting a right-of-way for motorized access in Recapture Canyon, the site of San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman’s illegal 2014 ATV protest ride.

    •  Undermines the Antiquities Act by including a companion bill that would remove the president’s authority under the Antiquities Act to protect deserving landscapes in southern and eastern Utah.

    Taken as a whole, the PLI is an assault on the wilderness of southern and eastern Utah.

    Where do we go from here?

    It’s time to move forward for the sake of Utah’s land, wildlife, and cultural resources.  It’s time to call the PLI what it really is: one more failed attempt by Utah’s congressional delegation to develop a meaningful conservation bill for the national treasures of southern and eastern Utah.  And, most importantly, it’s time for President Obama to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate the Bears Ears National Monument!

  • White Canyon. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA
    July 14th, 2016

    Today, Representative Rob Bishop introduced the Utah Public Lands Initiative (PLI). The proposed legislation fails to protect the imperiled cultural resources of Bears Ears, puts important natural and cultural resources at risk to rampant energy development, and undermines protection for priceless red rock Utah lands.

    Read More »
  • Bears Ears Crowd shot
    July 12th, 2016

    Bears Ears Crowd shotTerrific news! The Departments of Interior and Agriculture have announced that they will hold a public meeting on the proposed Bears Ears National Monument on Saturday, July 16th in Bluff, Utah.

    This is an exciting step forward in the campaign to convince President Obama to proclaim a Bears Ears National Monument.

    If you are in the region, please do whatever you can to attend the meeting in Bluff!

    Otherwise, please add your voice to the call for action on Bears Ears by sending an email to the President.

    This is a pivotal moment. It is crucial that we show a rising groundswell of support from all corners of the country over the next few months.

    You can help by joining our Online Advocacy Team. Once or twice a week, we will email you information and action items that you can share on social media. This is a powerful way to build the chorus of voices calling for presidential action on Bears Ears.

    To join, simply click here and fill out the form. 

    The Bears Ears National Monument proposal presents an extraordinary opportunity to protect one of the most scenically spectacular and archaeologically rich landscapes on the planet and to do something that’s never been done before by creating a national monument that protects Native American ancestral homelands and provides the Tribes a meaningful role in management.

    Please help #ProtectBearsEarsNow by taking action and joining our Online Advocacy Team.

    Thank you!

  • Red Rock Testimony Book
    June 30th, 2016

    We are excited to tell you about Red Rock Stories, an online community of writers and artists who are passionate about the landscapes, people, biodiversity, history and culture of Utah’s redrock country.

    The just-launched Red Rock Stories multimedia website features stories, photographs, art, video and audio that explore and celebrate the extraordinary values of this treasured landscape.

    Red Rock Stories grew out of several gatherings of writers and artists in Utah who were motivated by the confluence of grave threats and unique opportunities now facing the region. The website was conceived as a hub where creative voices of stewardship and caretaking can help inspire the preservation of this precious region.

    Check it out! The site is interactive and alive. You are invited not only to revel in the stories and art already posted, but also to become part of the community by submitting your own creative work. Red Rock Stories is also looking for people who would like to help grow the site by volunteering their skills as editors or becoming involved in other ways.

    Red Rock TestimonyThe website also includes a glimpse into Red Rock Testimony: Three Generations of Writers Speak on Behalf of Utah’s Public Lands, a limited edition chapbook that was distributed last week to Obama administration officials and congressional offices. This beautiful art-as-advocacy publication features exquisite essays and poems by 34 American authors, poets and former public officials who span three generations and bridge geography, race and culture. They write passionately for the protection Utah’s public lands, and the Bears Ears region in particular.

    We hope you will enjoy—and engage with—Red Rock Stories!

  • San Rafael River (James Kay)
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