Blog Archives - Page 2 of 110


  • Coal Hollow Mine (RayBloxham)
    July 9th, 2015

    Some bad ideas just don’t go away. In 2011, with your help, we sent a clear message to the BLM to “just say no” to a proposed coal lease on the western doorstep of Bryce Canyon National Park. So did the National Park Service. So did the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. You would think the BLM would get the message.

    Yet here we are, in the summer of 2015, and the BLM has just released a supplemental draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) analyzing the potential coal lease at the behest of Alton Coal Development—a small, privately held, out-of-state company. The lease would expand the current Coal Hollow mine from private land onto adjacent public land.

    The impact of the mine expansion on the local environment would be significant. It would pollute the air, flood Bryce Canyon’s world-famous dark night skies with light, degrade the habitat and health of wildlife such as the imperiled sage grouse, lower water quality, and mar one of the most majestic landscapes in the world.

    Coal Hollow Mine (RayBloxham)

    Coal Hollow Mine at the doorstep of Bryce Canyon. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    The expanded Coal Hollow strip mine would also allow up to 300 coal trucks to barrel through the historic town of Panguitch each day, threatening shops, restaurants, motels and small businesses that depend on tourists, and putting residents at risk for respiratory health problems related to toxic coal dust.

    We need your help again to tell the BLM, in no uncertain terms, “just say no!”

    The BLM is holding five open houses in the coming weeks: July 14 (Cedar City), July 15 (Panguitch), July 16 (Salt Lake City), July 21 (Kanab) and July 22 (Alton). Please consider attending one of these meetings to learn more about this terrible proposal. Click here for specific locations and times.

    We’ll post another alert  soon on how you can take further action and submit detailed comments via our website (to submit comments now, visit the BLM comment page).

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  • MussentuchitBadlands_small
    July 7th, 2015

    Here we go again. The BLM’s Price field office is once again poised to put a large portion of the San Rafael Swell on the auction block for oil and gas leasing. Targeted landscapes include the Limestone Cliffs, Molen Reef, Mussentuchit (pronounced “musn’t-touch-it”) Badlands, Rock Canyon, and Upper Muddy Creek areas – all proposed for wilderness designation in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (view map). These lands, which hug the west side of the Swell, feature a kaleidoscope of colorful sandstone layers and exhibit nearly every type of geological strata found in the redrock country. They also provide for critical soil and watershed functions, exceptional recreational opportunities, and important scientific and educational study.

    Please tell the BLM not to lease these treasured public lands for oil and gas development!

    MussentuchitBadlands_small

    Mussentuchit Badlands, copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    The places at risk are also rich in sensitive and irreplaceable cultural, archaeological, and paleontological resources, including extensive lithic scatters, pictographs, petroglyphs, and historic structures. Despite all this, however, the BLM is opening the door for industry to step in and permanently scar these landscapes, destroying their remarkable wilderness and cultural values.

    SUWA successfully fought off proposed oil and gas leasing in these same areas during the Bush administration and will do so again with your help.

    Please tell the BLM enough is enough! No more oil and gas leasing in the Swell!

     

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  • Hatch Point (Clint McKnight)
    June 25th, 2015

    Bad news. The counties’ proposals for Representative Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative are in and they spell disaster for the future of Utah’s wild lands.

    Please act now and tell Representatives Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz that the county plans are wholly inadequate. In order to be successful, any public lands legislation they draft must go far beyond what the counties have proposed.

    More than two years ago, Rep. Bishop announced his desire to resolve longstanding disputes over public lands. He said that things would be different this time. In many ways they have been; we have seen some amazing goodwill and effort by the delegation. SUWA and its conservation partners jumped in with both feet and have spent hundreds of hours in the field and poring over maps.

    However, not everyone got the message. Many of the counties involved in Rep. Bishop’s initiative have stymied real progress by taking a “business as usual” approach. They propose fragmented wilderness designation while rolling back existing wilderness study areas. Even their “conservation area” designations are often rendered meaningless because they are opened to oil and gas development and riddled with roads. Tellingly, some counties are proposing even less land protection now than they did two decades ago.

    Some of the most spectacular wilderness landscapes in Utah are essentially forsaken (click here to view map). These forgotten areas include: Bitter Creek in the upper Book Cliffs; Desolation Canyon; Labyrinth Canyon; Lockhart Basin/Hatch Point east of Canyonlands National Park; White Canyon; Tables of the Sun (Nokai Dome/Red Rock Plateau); the Price River; and lands surrounding Dinosaur National Monument.

    Hatch Point (Clint McKnight)

    Hatch Point, copyright Clint McKnight.

    While county commissions, like all stakeholders, should have the opportunity to provide input in this process, they should not be the defining voice in determining the future of Utah’s public lands.

    Click here to tell Representatives Bishop and Chaffetz that all Americans should have a voice in this process.

    If the county proposals are advanced by the Utah delegation, it will mean a jigsaw puzzle of wilderness in Utah with more than half of the pieces missing. Vast reaches of undisturbed beauty that now define the redrock canyon country could be devastated by vehicle trails, energy development, and destructive “vegetation treatments.”

    Utah’s wild lands deserve better.

    Labyrinth Canyon (James Kay)

    Labyrinth Canyon, copyright James Kay.

    To succeed, the Public Lands Initiative needs to provide meaningful protection for the now-forsaken areas and incorporate the concerns of citizens across Utah and America.

    Please help save Wild Utah. Act now to tell Representatives Bishop and Chaffetz to do justice to Utah’s spectacular wild lands.

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  • NewfoundlandMtsn_ScottSmith
    June 11th, 2015
    The SUWA ad appearing in the print editions of The Hill and Roll Call in Washington, D.C., on June 11, 2015. Click to see full size version (opens in PDF)

    The SUWA ad appearing in the print editions of The Hill and Roll Call in Washington, D.C., on June 11, 2015. Click to see the full size version (opens in PDF).

    Today, SUWA is running ads in the print and online versions of The Hill and Roll Call — two newspapers that are must-reads for the staff and elected officials on Capitol Hill in DC — to bring attention to how some members of the Utah delegation are using the proposed expansion of the Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) as an excuse to harm wilderness and conservation values in Utah’s West Desert.

    The Utah Test and Training Range is the largest training ground in the United States, covering almost 1.7 million acres in Utah’s West Desert. The Air Force, Army and Marine Corps all conduct training here.

    Recently, in order to accommodate a new fleet of F-35 aircraft, members of the Utah delegation have proposed an expansion of this training range, which would overlap with about 700,000 additional acres of lands managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management.

    But the delegation is also seeking to use the legislation as an excuse to give road rights-of-way across federal lands to several Utah counties, and to trade away public lands to mining interests. Neither of these add-on proposals have anything to do with national security, and would irreparably harm these unique public lands.

    Tell your representatives in Congress to oppose an expansion of the UTTR that contains these harmful public lands provisions!

    Many of the areas included in the proposed expansion are popular with hunters, hikers, campers and historic preservationists for their natural beauty, abundant wildlife and cultural and recreational value. As currently written, the expansion would not protect the wilderness values of places BLM agrees are wilderness caliber landscapes — including the Newfoundland Mountains, Dugway Mountains, and the Fish Springs Range — and could permanently compromise their future eligibility for protection.

    Grassy Mountains in the West Desert. Photo (c) Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    Grassy Mountains in the West Desert. Photo (c) Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. In 2006, similar legislation in the West Desert led to a win-win solution for the Cedar Mountains Wilderness, which was designated as part of a larger military bill known as the Utah Test and Training Range Protection Act. Wilderness areas make ideal buffer zones for military facilities and have been intentionally designated in legislation seeking to protect military resources. That’s why the Cedar Mountains designation enjoyed the broad, bipartisan support of members of Congress. They knew it was possible to accommodate the needs of the military without compromising the beautiful public lands that make up the fabric of American life that our armed forces fight to defend.

    Tell your members of Congress National Security and Natural Resources can and should coexist!

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