admin, Author at Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance - Page 3 of 3

  • March 4th, 2011

    Who is really declaring a “War on Western Jobs?”

    “The truth is that existing BLM Resource Management Plans are untouched by the administration’s new policy, which only affects future planning endeavors. The oil and gas industry is holding thousands upon thousands of acres of drilling leases without taking action, making the governor’s claims of “loss of natural resources” highly questionable. Furthermore, only 2,530 net new oil, gas, and mining jobs were created in Utah between the years of 1998 and 2008. Even during the Bush administration’s push for greater energy production, the extractive industries did not make up a large portion of the employment in Utah, and were dwarfed by the tourism sector.”  Read more – The Wonk Room

    “Wild Lands” policy is beneficial to hunters and other backcountry users

    “The national budget bill passed by the House of Representatives affects anyone who spends time in the backcountry — non-hunters and hunters. Anyone who cares deeply about wildlife and public access to wild spaces should be concerned about language in the legislation that prohibits the Bureau of Land Management from working with local stakeholders to conserve backcountry lands, as currently directed under the BLM wildlands order.”  Letter-to-the-editor – The Salt Lake Tribune

    Hypocrisy abounds at the “Wild Lands” policy hearing

    “This brings us back to the March 1st Wild Lands hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee.  Maybe the most telling part of the criticisms that were reserved for the administration and their defense of the Wild Lands policy was not for the mechanics of the policy itself, but the fact that the two headliner witnesses – Governor Butch Otter of Idaho and Governor Gary Herbert of Utah – complained that as local officials in the region, they had not been consulted by the Obama administration before Secretarial Order 3310 was issued.  An ironic place and time to utter such a criticism given how the committee was treating Director Abbey’s right to speak.  But as Congressman Martin Heinrich from New Mexico pointed out to the two governors, he did not recall in his capacity as a city council member of Albuquerque, any ‘local officials’ in the West like himself, receiving similar consideration when the Bush administration decided to eliminate the longstanding wilderness protection policy.  Furthermore, when Representative Edward Markey asked Gov. Otter whether he personally protested the lack of transparency when the Bush administration made their arbitrary decision in 2003.  Tellingly, Otter responded, ‘Of course not — I agreed with it.’   Which really says it all…if the outcome was to one’s liking, process be damned.”  Read more – Switchboard (NRDC blog)

  • March 2nd, 2011

     SUWA clearly knows how to make a difference in Washington

    “SUWA’s petition here at asks Congress to pass ARRWA, granting permanent protection to these lands, perhaps the most unique in the country. If you think signing Congressional petitions is a waste of your time, think again – SUWA’s most recent email newsletter celebrates two other activist-driven Congressional victories. In the first, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) withdrew his amendment to defund the National Landscape Conservation System. And in the second, a bill to block presidential use of the historic Antiquities Act was defeated in the House, 213-209. A few months ago, the group as part of a large coalition of conservation groups scored a huge victory when the Obama administration repealed former President Bush’s ‘No More Wilderness’ policy.”  Read more –

    Western Republicans misleading the public on “Wild Lands” policy

    “The Republican leadership is beholden to special interests, as it always has been, and in the case of BLM policy, there’s a lot of oil industry lobbying money in play. The stated fear is that Obama and Salazar want to ‘lock up’ public lands, but they are being disingenuous and misleading. These are public federal lands, not the backyard playground of western rural communities, and they’re best managed according to the reasoned plan that Salazar proposed. That includes identifying tracts that have wilderness qualities, then soliciting input from all stakeholders, local and national, before making a decision.”  Opinion – Summit County Citizens Voice

    “Wild Lands” policy is a return to multiple use, not a land grab!

    “While widespread concerns persist in the West that the Obama administration will use the policy to lock up public lands, BLM issued a final guidance Friday that suggests the agency intends to be flexible in its wild lands management.  ‘A wider range of actions and activities may be allowed in Wild Lands than can occur in Wilderness,’ a BLM manual says.”  Read more – The New York Times

    “According to BLM data for western states, there is an average of 1 acre of wilderness land for every 42 leased for oil and gas drilling.  And of the land currently leased (which would not be effected by the new order) for oil and gas drilling, just over 1/3 is actually being used by the industry.  Returning to enforcing existing policy would only affect new land designations.”  Opinion – The SideTrack

    Salazar: “Wilderness is not a bad thing”

    “Westerners understand, Salazar said today, that protected areas like national monuments, are ‘economic generators’ and that there is a direct connection between conserving land and economic development. ‘We can tone down the rhetoric,’ he said. ‘We in the United States have some very special places — they are not Republican places, they are not Democratic places, they are not independent places, they belong to all of us.'”  Read more – The Wonk Room

  • February 25th, 2011

    February 2011

    Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
    1.  Help defend key tools for protecting wild places.
    2.  Host a 127 Hours house party & educate your friends about Utah wilderness!
    3.  Have you been to the Greater Canyonlands Region?  We’re looking for photos.
    4.  See our “Wild Utah” presentation this March!

    Some key tools safe (for now), but wild lands protections still need your help!

    Last week, over 2500 redrock activists and thousands of others across the country contacted their representatives to vote NO on the House Continuing Resolution for Appropriations bill and proposed amendments that would be devastating for public lands protection.  On a long list of bad environmental provisions in the bill, the worst for the redrock was language that would block the Bureau of Land Management’s “Wild Lands” policy – before it had even been finalized!  Unfortunately, there was little to be done about this provision since it was included in the original bill text.  However, the other two major threats to the redrock either failed or were withdrawn, thanks in part to your activism!

    One amendment, offered by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and eventually withdrawn, would have defunded the National Landscape Conservation System – the department within the BLM that administers national monuments, wilderness study areas and other important conservation lands.  This would have effectively closed those places to the public since all funding for staff and management would cease.

    Reps. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Raul Labrador (R-ID) offered another terrible amendment to block the use of the Antiquities Act (the bill that allowed past presidents to protect such places as Arches, Zion, and Bryce) – and fortunately this one failed on a narrow 213-209 vote.  This is a major victory for our public lands on an otherwise environmentally destructive bill.  Click here to see how your representative voted and then thank him/her if your rep. voted NO.

    As we move forward next week, we’re likely to see some more action on the “Wild Lands” policy as the House Committee on Natural Resources makes it the topic of its first oversight hearing.  We’re expecting Chairmen Doc Hastings (R-WA) and Bishop to stack the decks against supporters of the policy, so we will need your help!


    1. If your rep. voted against the bad Antiquities Act amendment, please thank him/her!

    2. Watch the “Wild Lands” policy hearing LIVE next Tuesday, March 1, at 2pm and comment about why it is important to protect wild places via Facebook.  You can do both at the same time on the Natural Resources Committee’s webpage!

    3. Tell the Natural Resources Committee to stop their attacks on the “Wild Lands” policy using Twitter.

    Host a 127 Hours House Party to spread the word about Utah wilderness

    127 Hours PosterIt’s not every day that an Oscar-nominated film features the redrock canyons of southern Utah.  127 Hours does just that in its portrayal of Aron Ralston’s now famous story of getting trapped while hiking in Blue John Canyon.  If you haven’t seen the film yet, or want to watch it again, the DVD release this March is a perfect opportunity to spread the word about protecting Utah wilderness.  One of the extra features on the DVD profiles Aron’s volunteer work with SUWA and the Utah Wilderness Coalition in helping to gain support for redrock protection (work that we greatly appreciate!).

    What you can do: If you host a house party to watch 127 Hours, SUWA’s grassroots team will provide you with informational materials about the Utah wilderness campaign to share with friends, as well as postcards that you and your friends can sign and mail to key decision makers.  Please email our Outreach Director Deeda Seed at if you are interested.  Everyone who participates will be put in a drawing for a signed version of Aron’s book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place!

    Calling all photographers and budding photographers!

    The Greater Canyonlands region is one of the most spectacular and wildest sections of redrock canyon country.  If you’ve visited the area and have photos you are willing to share, we would love to incorporate them in an upcoming campaign.  We are looking for both landscape shots and photos of people enjoying the wilderness from either professional photographers or those of you who wish to share some images of your travels with other redrock activists.  Specifically, we are looking for photos of areas outside of and surrounding Canyonlands National Park, including places such as Upper Horseshoe Canyon, Sweetwater Reef, San Rafael River, Flat Tops, Horsetheif Point, Hatch Canyon, Lockhart Basin, Harts Point, Dead Horse Cliffs, Indian Creek, Bridger Jack Mesa, Demon’s Playground, Butler Wash, Dark Canyon, Fortknocker Canyon, and Shay Mountain.

    Please send all photo submissions to Diane Kelly at  Sending us your photo will indicate that you give SUWA permission to post the photo on our website and our social media networks.  All photos will be properly cited when posted publicly.

    See our “Wild Utah” presentation this March!

    This March, see our “Wild Utah: America’s Redrock Wilderness” multimedia presentation in Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  See the full winter/spring schedule on our website.

    To host a slideshow or to recommend a hosting organization or venue, please contact:

    In the East: Jackie Feinberg,

    In the Midwest: Clayton Daughenbaugh,

    In the West: Terri Martin,

    TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition to protect America’s Redrock Wilderness

  • February 22nd, 2011

    Republicans should read “America’s Great Outdoors” report

    “There was other damage the Senate must repair. One amendment would prevent the Bureau of Land Management from recommending permanent wilderness protections for public land. The president’s authority to designate new national monuments under the Antiquities Act survived by a slim margin, but some Republicans vowed to challenge that authority later this year.

    In a perfect world this report would be required reading among House Republicans. Sadly, their headlong dash to weaken the nation’s environmental protections would appear to leave them little time for it.”  Editorial – The New York Times

    Republican assault on Antiquities Act is ideology run amok

    “Squashing the Antiquities Act, an amazingly effective conservation law that presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to George W. Bush have used to protect great American treasures, has nothing to do with getting the federal government’s fiscal house in order. The cost of studying, proposing, designating, and administering national monuments doesn’t amount to a raindrop in a hurricane.

    No, Labrador’s proposal is simply reactionary ideology run amok. There is no room in such a barren view of the world for the traditional conservative ethic of saving America’s heritage–cultural and natural–to respect what our ancestors set aside for us and to inspire, educate, and enlighten future generations.”  Read more – The Green Conservative

    No more national monuments?

    “A stench of anti-environmental extremism hangs over the new Congress, particularly the U.S. House of Representatives.

    This legislation must not pass. National forests and Bureau of Land Management lands are for compromising about, and allowing ‘job-creating activities’ that create far fewer jobs than outdoor recreation.

    National parks and national monuments must remain inviolate.”  Opinion – SeattlePI

    A transparent approach to designating national monuments

    “Now, whether it was in reaction to that criticism, or part of the plan all along, the topic of national monuments came up often during the 51 listening sessions the administration held last year to gather input for the resulting America’s Great Outdoors report. According to that report, ‘(D)uring listening sessions, strong support was voiced for the designation of unique places as national monuments as an important way to preserve critical elements of the American landscape and cultural heritage.'”  Read more – National Parks Traveler


  • February 18th, 2011

    A “fat, aging man” on why he supports protecting wilderness

    “Have we become so selfish and so greedy that we have to have everything right now, as cheap as possible, no matter the cost to the environment and to those who follow us? Can’t we choose to share not only the beauty of Utah’s wild places but their bounty with future generations?

    I might be a fat, aging man. But I still think it’s a good idea to set aside as much wilderness as possible.”  Read more – The Salt Lake Tribune

    Really, Utah counties think these are roads?

    “Here’s some very brief legal background for the amusing photos which follow. A one-sentence provision of the Mining Law of 1866 (not a typo — 145 years ago) allows for the ‘right-of-way for the construction of highways across public lands.’ This statute was later renamed RS2477. In 1976 it was repealed, but the repeal was subject to valid existing rights. Just what constitutes a valid existing right in this context is open to debate, as is the extent of this right. When rural western counties realized this could be a tool for sabotaging wilderness, they took a very extreme view as to what ‘highways’ existed as a result of RS2477.”  Commentary – The Huffington Post

    Who gives a crap about the opportunity for solitude?  Hey, we do!

    “Denunciation of Salazar’s proposal was the overwhelming sentiment during the Club 20 meeting, which was attended by about 45 people.

    Kathy Hall, a former Club 20 chairwoman, called the designation an ‘underhanded attempt to create wilderness’ by administrative action instead of by an act of Congress.

    One criteria for the designation of a wild land would be the opportunity afforded for solitude and personal reflection.

    ‘What does that crap have to do with anything?’ rancher Harry Peroulis said.”  Read more – Grand Junction Sentinel