SUWA Action Alerts Archives


  • Desolation Canyon (Ray Bloxham)
    July 22nd, 2016

    Representative Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative (PLI), unveiled last week after much delay, is the kind of pro-extraction, anti-federal legislation that could only come from a congressman with a lifetime score of 3% from the League of Conservation Voters.

    Among myriad provisions that exacerbate climate change, promote the State of Utah’s land grab, and trivialize the Inter-Tribal Coalition’s Bears Ears proposal, one deficiency stands out above all else: the bill completely fails to adequately protect the nearly 4.4 million acres of remarkable wilderness-quality lands throughout southern and eastern Utah that are affected by this legislation. In doing so, the PLI removes existing wilderness management on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands and fails to protect 62% of inventoried lands that qualify and deserve wilderness protection.

    Desolation Canyon (Ray Bloxham)

    The PLI would remove existing protections from the Desolation Canyon Wilderness Study Area. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    The PLI rolls back existing protections for over 100,000 acres of wilderness study areas (WSAs) and at least 70,000 acres of BLM-managed natural areas (i.e., areas managed by the BLM for the protection of wilderness values).  Areas left with lesser or no protection, among many others, include the entirety of the Winter Ridge, Jack Canyon, and Squaw and Papoose WSAs, and significant portions of the Desolation Canyon, Dark Canyon, Grand Gulch, and Cheesebox Canyon WSAs. Managed natural areas around the San Rafael Reef—like Muddy Creek and Wild Horse Mesa—are also adversely impacted. In addition, the PLI completely fails to protect iconic Utah landscapes such as White Canyon (including most of its tributaries), Hatch Point, Price River, and the Mussentuchit Badlands as wilderness.

    White Canyon (Scott Braden)

    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 Scott Braden/SUWA.

    Setting aside the endless list of terrible PLI provisions, the bill is fundamentally unacceptable as it fails to protect the full spectrum of wilderness-quality lands in southern and eastern Utah. Simply put, if Rep. Bishop fixed every other provision of the bill tomorrow, it would still be a step backwards for Utah’s redrock wilderness.

    SUWA will work tirelessly to ensure that the PLI meets the same doomed fate of previous public lands bills that paid little more than lip service to Utah’s remarkable public lands — but to accomplish this, we need your help. Please contact your congressional representative and tell them that the PLI is a pro-extraction, pro-development bill disguised as conservation legislation. Tell them that Utah’s wildlands deserve better.

    >>Click here to send your message now.

  • San Rafael River (James Kay)
  • Bear's Ears - Cedar Mesa
    June 23rd, 2016

    Big news! This Past Saturday, as President Obama toured Yosemite to celebrate the upcoming centennial of America’s national parks, the editorial board of the New York Times endorsed the President’s use of the Antiquities Act to proclaim a Bears Ears National Monument, writing:

    A monument designation would earn Mr. Obama the admiration of conservationists and the many Indian tribes that support the idea. It would also arouse the fury of the political establishment in a state where . . . powerful interests would resent the restrictions on off-road vehicles, oil and gas drilling, and other development that the designation would bring. But so what? Mr. Obama has nothing to lose politically, and everything to gain in terms of the environmental accomplishment.

    The editorial follows up on a front page story in the Washington Post on Bears Ears, as well as the second editorial in as many months from the Salt Lake Tribune calling on the President to designate Bears Ears as a national monument.

    Click here to add your voice and ask President Obama to #ProtectBearsEarsNow!

    Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has publicly said that she will come to Utah this summer to discuss the Bears Ears proposal. That means that this is the time when it is critical that everyone who supports the tribally-led effort to protect this sacred landscape speak up and spread the word.

    Please start by sending a message to President Obama if you haven’t done so already.

    If you want to get more involved, join our Online Advocacy Team and we’ll contact you once or twice a week with sharable information and stories for social media. Your sharing on social media is critical to keeping up the drum beat and amplifing the call for President Obama to act to protect Bears Ears.

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

    Thank you!

  • White Canyon (Scott Braden)
    May 16th, 2016

    Four months ago, the Utah congressional delegation released a draft of their Public Lands Initiative (PLI), a proposal for 18 million acres of eastern Utah’s public lands.

    This draft is the worst wilderness bill ever proposed by the Utah congressional delegation. It has been universally condemned by conservationists and Native American Tribes.

    The Utah politicians have since refused to discuss their proposal with us. There is no small irony in this given that the delegation insists it is “seeking” public comment on this proposal.

    As Representatives Bishop and Chaffetz blew by introduction deadlines, the PLI began to slouch from sight. One might have assumed the representatives were passively acknowledging that they had loaded this legislation with so many bad provisions it would never fly. The PLI seemed dead.

    Utah politicians then shifted their focus from the PLI to attacking a coalition of Tribes for proposing the Bears Ears National Monument (which we endorse). Their new focus has become stopping this visionary proposal.

    Now, Utah’s politicians threaten to pull the PLI from the grave in an effort to enlist it in their anti-Bears Ears efforts. Clearly, they are hoping to distract the White House from taking action on a new national monument.

    But this zombie bill will fail for the same reasons as the original proposal and it should not serve as an excuse not to protect Bears Ears now.

    White Canyon (Scott Braden)

    Most of White Canyon, a central part of the Bears Ears National Monument Proposal, is left out of the PLI altogether. © Scott Braden/SUWA

     

    We know that the PLI will not protect a significant number of the 5 million acres of wilderness-quality public lands in eastern Utah. In fact, it is likely to reduce already meager wilderness protections for public lands. We also know that the PLI will condemn hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands to energy zones and will further the State of Utah’s land grab by giving the State and its counties thousands of miles two-tracks, dirt trails, and cow paths as “highways” across public lands.

    And now we know that the PLI will be used as an excuse to justify Utah politicians’ refusal to work with the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition to protect Bears Ears.

    Any one of these elements makes the PLI nothing more than a Plundered Lands Initiative, fully deserving of reburial. Utah’s public lands simply deserve better. President Obama needs to act now to protect the Bears Ears—as requested by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition—from looting and other ongoing threats to the region.

    Please send a message to President Obama today asking him to designate a Bears Ears National Monument.

    Thank you.

  • Public Lands for Sale Sign
Page 1 of 2112345...1020...Last »