March 2010

  • March 31st, 2010

    Historic Preservation and Conservation Groups Settle Suit over BLM Approvals of Natural Gas Wells in Nine Mile Canyon Region
    “A coalition of historic preservation and
    conservation groups announced yesterday that they settled a lawsuit with
    Bureau of Land Management filed in the summer of 2008 challenging the
    BLM’s approval
    of 30 natural gas wells in the Nine Mile Canyon region of Utah.”  Read more – SUWA Press Release

  • March 26th, 2010

    It’s an exciting time for friends of redrock country!

    The San Juan-Canyonlands region of southeastern Utah contains some of the most iconic landscapes of the American West, including the ancient ruins of Cedar Mesa, the serpentine San Juan River, and the maze of canyons that comprise White Canyon in the citizen-proposed Glen Canyon Wilderness.  All told, 1.3 million acres in this region are citizen-proposed wilderness in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

    White Canyon

    Utah’s Sen. Bob Bennett recognizes the value of protecting these magnificent wild lands and has written to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and other stakeholders asking for input so we can work together to craft a wilderness bill
    for the area.  This is an exciting opportunity to achieve lasting
    protection for some of Utah’s most significant wild lands.

    With our partners in the Utah Wilderness Coalition we are
    recommending ways to approach the complex landscape of the San Juan-Canyonlands region – looking at region-wide landscape and ecosystem protection, rather than focusing
    on disconnected individual units.  We are encouraging Sen. Bennett to engage in this landscape-based regional approach by taking field trips, meeting with constituents, and taking the time to discuss conflicts and ways to resolve them.  We want to make certain that we use this real opportunity to resolve
    wilderness issues in the region and that we do it right.

    However, the current proposed time period for input is extremely short.  So, to help ensure a transparent and inclusive process, we are asking you to write your members of Congress today to ask that the San Juan-Canyonlands
    wilderness gets the care and consideration it deserves.  It took thousands of years to shape these vistas, and we must be certain protection for them is as carefully crafted.

  • March 24th, 2010

    SUWA asks State Mining
    Board’s coal interests to step aside for decision

    Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance plans to challenge the Utah Division of Oil,
    Gas & Mining board today, saying any members with financial interests in
    coal mining should recuse themselves from decisions on Alton Coal Development’s
    mine-reclamation plan.
    SUWA and
    the Sierra Club also hope to persuade the board to delay further decisions on
    the plan until the snow melts at the Coal Hollow Mine site in the Book Cliffs
    near Alton, about 10 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park, so experts can
    examine water-monitoring stations.” Read more – Salt Lake Tribune

    Implementation next key
    step in Washington County Growth and Conservation Act

    “Like many
    things in our society a bill or an idea is only as good as its
    implementation. The BLM has been tasked with putting the bill’s words
    into action. This should be of great interest to the residents of this
    county. It’s time to “walk the talk.” BLM will sponsor two local
    meetings to hear public comments and receive input for the
    implementation of the bill’s provisions.” Read more – Spectrum Daily News

  • March 23rd, 2010

    attorneys agree previous administration's energy policies failed —
    must incorporate wilderness considerations

    signs are that the Department of Interior is taking a much more active
    role in
    ensuring that energy development is treated as but one of a number of
    resources that include wilderness, recreation, water resources, wildlife
    others,' [Heidi] McIntosh said. 'Gone for now is a single-faceted
    philosophy in which oil and development is the BLM's No. 1 priority.'"
    Read more – Salt Lake

    acknowledges climate change risks in land management

    A federal judge has approved a
    first-of-its-kind settlement requiring
    the government to suspend 38,000 acres of oil and gas leases in Montana
    so it can gauge how oil field activities contribute to climate change.
    At issue
    are the greenhouse gases emitted by drilling machinery
    industry practices such as venting natural gas directly into the
    atmosphere." Read
    more – Washington Post

    As much energy
    as a baked potato?

    "We've all heard the horror stories from Canada.
     The Alberta tar sands project is among the most environmentally
    destructive projects in the world…However, a tar sands project,
    the first of its kind in the United States, is happening here in the
    eastern Utah desert, not far from Moab, Arches National Park, and
    Dinosaur National Monument."
    more – Daily Kos

  • March 22nd, 2010

    March 2010

    Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
    1.  Help protect Utah’s magnificent Arch Canyon from off-road vehicle damage.
    2.  Show us how “wild” you are about Utah!
    3.  Faith communities urge Utah leaders to support wilderness stewardship.
    4.  New redrock bill cosponsors include Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA).
    5.  See a SUWA slideshow this April, including new “dust on snow” presentations in Colorado! 

    Threatened Places: BLM Considering Commercial Jeep Event in Arch Canyon

    Jeep in Arch Canyon
    A jeep plows through Arch Canyon.  Photo copyright Liz Thomas/SUWA.

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is currently
    considering an application by Jeep Jamboree USA to hold an off-road vehicle (ORV) event in Arch

    at the end of April, during which large groups of Jeeps would be driven
    up and
    down the canyon.  Located in
    southeastern Utah, Arch Canyon is a place of magnificent natural beauty and solitude, and
    is rich in archaeological sites, including rock art and structures, some of them 2,000
    years old.  Although the BLM has not inventoried or recorded the vast majority of
    the archaeological sites in Arch Canyon, the federal agency has allowed ORV use to
    occur in this proposed wilderness area, causing impacts to prehistoric and historic cultural resources.  The free-flowing creek in Arch Canyon is a
    rare desert gem; streams amount to merely 1% of Utah’s public lands yet
    support nearly 80% of Utah’ wildlife. 
    ORVs cross the stream in Arch Canyon 120 times in the round trip up and
    down the canyon, causing significant damage to the streambed and degradation
    of water quality and habitat of sensitive fish species.

    SUWA has filed a lawsuit challenging BLM’s decision to deny our petition
    to protect Arch Canyon from ORV damage.  In the meantime, ORV use continues to
    threaten the resources of Arch Canyon.

    send an email to the Utah BLM State Director requesting that:

    1)      BLM prohibit ORV use in Arch
    Canyon, and
    2)      BLM deny Jeep’s application
    for a Jeep Jamboree in Arch Canyon in April.

    can send your concerns to:
    Sierra, Utah State BLM Director


    Enter SUWA’s “Wild About Utah” Photo Contest! 

     Is your “Protect Wild Utah” button pinned to your backpack?  Have you
    been someplace far from Utah and seen a “Protect Wild Utah” sticker on a
    building, sign or car bumper?  By design, our bright yellow buttons and
    stickers are easy to spot from far away.  Now, you can win a prize for
    displaying your love of Utah’s redrock country and being a good
    photographer.  Just send a photo of yourself or a friend wearing a
    “Protect Wild Utah” button or sticker OR submit a photo of a button or
    sticker in an interesting location (let’s keep it clean, please!).

    For full contest details or to request a button or sticker, be sure to visit the SUWA’s photo contest webpage.

    All contest entries will be posted on SUWA’s Flickr page — add SUWA as one of your Flickr contacts to keep updated on new entries! 



    Faith and the Land: A Call for Wilderness Stewardship at Utah’s State Capitol


    Faith & the Land Event at Utah Capitol
    God isn’t making any more wilderness,” said Reverend Erin
    Gilmore of the Holladay United Church of Christ.  “It’s up to us to
    protect what remains.”

    In an historic event that has the power to shift the
    conversation about wilderness in Utah, members of 11 different faith traditions
    stood together in the rotunda of the State Capitol in February
    and called on
    state lawmakers to recognize the spiritual importance of Utah’s wilderness
    heritage and to support meaningful protection for the state’s remaining wild
    lands.  Reinforcing their call for
    wilderness stewardship was an impressive exhibit of 24 posters featuring over
    250 handwritten personal statements about why Utah’s wild lands matter spiritually.  The posters were created at “Wilderness
    Stewardship” events held last fall and winter within the Roman Catholic,
    Episcopal, Islamic, Jewish, Latter-day Saint, Lutheran, Methodist,
    Presbyterian, Quaker, Unitarian Universalist, and United Church of Christ faith
    communities and one interfaith event.


    *New Cosponsor Spotlight* 

    Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)

    In this, the 111th Congress, we have surpassed the number of House cosponsors for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in the 110th Congress!  Those recently signing onto to the bill are Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-NY), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA).  If you live in any of the above districts, please thank your representative!

    For a full list of cosponsors, click here.  If your members of Congress are not on the list of cosponsors, please ask them to sign onto the bill by clicking here!


    Watch Out for a Wild Utah Slideshow this April

    SUWA’s multi-media slideshow presentation, Wild Utah: America’s Redrock Wilderness, will be on the road in April!

    SUWA’s Midwest Field Organizer, Clayton Daughenbaugh, will be presenting in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota this April.  For more information or to schedule a slideshow in the Midwest, email Clayton at

    SUWA’s National Grassroots Organizer, Jackie Feinberg, will be traveling to Virginia and Florida in April.  For more information or to schedule a slideshow along the East Coast, email Jackie at   

    SUWA’s Western Regional Organizer, Terri Martin, will be showing our new “Redrock Wilderness or Red Dust Melting Colorado Snow?” presentation in Colorado this April.  For more information or to schedule a slideshow in Colorado, email Terri at

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