Jen Ujifusa, Author at Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance - Page 2 of 4


  • March 1st, 2017

    This morning, the Senate wrapped up debate and confirmed Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana to be Secretary of Interior on a 68-31 vote. The newly-minted Secretary had barely settled into his first lunch hour on the job when a rally formed outside the Department of Interior, with dozens of people gathered to show support for Bears Ears National Monument.

    Join them by calling Sec. Zinke now to say you support Bears Ears! Click here to be patched through or call 202-208-7351.

    Bears Ears supporters rally outside the Department of Interior shortly after Secretary Zinke’s confirmation.

    Why all the focus on Utah’s latest great monument? It’s because the Utah delegation and state legislature have been clamoring for Sec. Zinke to recommend that President Trump repeal or shrink the monument, against the wishes of the historic tribal coalition that advocated for it, the hundreds of thousands of Utahns that celebrated it, and the best interests of the American people.

    It’s imperative that Zinke, as the top steward of our nation’s public lands, resist the extreme views of Utah politicians, who are even advocating for the repeal of the 20-year-old Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument!

    Call Rep. Zinke now and tell him to leave Utah’s monuments alone! Be sure to mention where you’re from!

    There is still time to persuade Sec. Zinke to go the right way on this. He’s from Montana, he reportedly has a good relationship with tribes, and he has repeatedly expressed his admiration for Teddy Roosevelt—the president who first used and advocated for the Antiquities Act. He has also said he opposes the transfer of federal lands.

    But as a congressman, Zinke voted against policies that would cut carbon pollution, and for those that would block the creation of new national monuments and eliminate protections for wildlife.

    We’re not sure which version of Zinke we’ll see on this issue, but we’re betting if he hears from you, he’ll find it difficult to attack Bears Ears.

    Click here to be patched through to Secretary Zinke right now. (Have your cell phone handy.)

    If you’d prefer to send Secretary Zinke an email, click here. However you contact him, please let him know that both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments are here to stay.

    Thank you!

     

  • September 22nd, 2016

    Today, the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee “marked up” Rep. Rob Bishop’s terrible Public Lands Initiative (PLI)—the bill that seeks to roll back federal land protections, unleash a fossil fuel bonanza, and give away lands belonging to all Americans to the State of Utah.  As if that isn’t reckless enough, the bill fails to protect even half of the region’s deserving wilderness and it utterly fails to respect the efforts of five united Native American tribes to secure meaningful protection for the Bears Ears region—a landscape rich in cultural and natural wonders.

    A “mark up” is a congressional procedure in which members are supposed to take the information they learn from witnesses at a hearing and apply that information by attempting to improve the bill through amendments. Several wilderness champions in the House did just that, offering amendments that would spruce up the PLI and at least bring it into accordance with the Wilderness Act, the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and several other federal laws that are undermined by Bishop’s bill. Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Raul Ruiz (D-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO) all offered up commonsense amendments to repair just some of the bill’s significant environmental flaws, and argued admirably against the bill’s harmful provisions. It was apparent that they listened to the testimonies and worked to fix the bill accordingly.

    If any of them are your Representatives, please call their offices and thank them for fighting the PLI today! The Capitol Switchboard is 202-224-3121. You can also watch the debate here.

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    Rep. Bishop, for his part, ignored last week’s testimony by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management opposing the bill, ignored the testimony of Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, a member of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition (also opposing the bill), and continued to ignore the voices of other tribes, conservationists, and the more that 300 million Americans that own the public lands in question.

    In fact, the only amendment Rep. Bishop offered to his bill was one for technical changes—fixing typos, grammatical errors and the like. It was the only amendment of the day that passed, and in Rep. Bishop’s hopelessly stacked committee, the bill eventually passed too, on a party line vote.

    But don’t worry. From here on out, the Public Lands Initiative has no chance.

    As pointed out by Reps. Grijalva, Tsongas, and Lowenthal, the bill simply will not advance in the Senate. It contains too many poison pills, too many egregious violations of bedrock environmental law, too little wilderness, and too little compromise for that body to approve. But let’s say, just for argument, that it did pass the Senate. What president is going to sign into law a bill that was opposed by multiple agencies within his or her own administration? Do you think President Obama, who has protected more public lands in his time in the Oval Office than any of his predecessors, would sign into law the PLI, which imperils millions of acres of deserving wilderness?

    The simple answer is no. He wouldn’t do that. So the PLI is doomed, dead, failed. And it’s too bad, because we spent precious years working on it in earnest before it became obvious the bill would go nowhere good.

    Now the focus must turn to what still is achievable: protecting the 1.9 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument that has been requested by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. Throughout the PLI discussions, it has often been said by the Utah delegation that everyone agrees the Bears Ears region deserves protection. And we certainly do. Now that it’s clear the PLI cannot do the job, President Obama should step in. Click here to send a message asking him to Protect Bears Ears now!

  • September 15th, 2016

    Rep. Rob Bishop just held a hearing on his Public Lands Initiative (PLI), bringing his disastrous vision for the management of Utah’s spectacular public lands to the chambers of Congress.

    Testifying against the bill were representatives of the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, and the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, an alliance of five Tribes that have come together to propose national monument designation for the 1.9 million-acre Bears Ears region of southeasern Utah.

    Let your representative know it’s time to defeat the PLI!

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    That its sponsors repeatedly tout the “conservation” in this bill is Orwellian. In reality, the PLI is the worst “wilderness” bill we’ve seen in Congress since the visionary Wilderness Act of 1964 was passed into law. Among its indecencies:

    • It rolls back existing protections on more than 100,000 acres of Utah’s deserving BLM wilderness.
    • Its “National Conservation Areas” are riddled with loopholes that are in direct opposition to conservation—allowing things like mining, deforestation projects and rampant road development.
    • It hands over to the State of Utah massive tracts of land that belong to the American people.
    • It gives unelected local groups unprecedented authority over the management of federal lands.
    • Its proposal for the 1.9 million-acre Bears Ears region is woefully inadequate.

    Contact your member of Congress today and tell them the PLI cannot pass!

    Fortunately, the bill was met with vigorous opposition by Reps. Niki Tsongas (MA), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Alan Lowenthal (CA), and Jared Polis (CO). If they are your representatives, please call their offices and thank them. The Capitol switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.

    We have worked for 30 years to cultivate congressional champions who can save Utah’s wilderness from proposals like the PLI—champions who understand that these majestic redrock plateaus and canyons deserve real protection for generations to come. But we’ve only been successful because you respond to our alerts, call your members of Congress, and enlist their help.

    Please do that again today. The legislative markup, the next step in the advancement of a bill through Congress, may still be coming this month.

    Please tell your representative that Utah’s wilderness deserves better than the PLI!

    Thank you!

  • February 24th, 2016

    The “Utah Test and Training Range Encroachment Prevention and Temporary Closure Act” (H.R. 4579), introduced by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), aims to give away federal public lands under the guise of national security.

    A companion to Senator Hatch’s S. 2383, the legislation would withdraw roughly 625,000 acres of BLM lands to expand the Utah Test and Training Range—already the largest military training ground in the United States—purportedly to accommodate a new fleet of F-35 jets. But it goes well beyond that mission by granting 6,000 miles of RS 2477 rights-of-way to Box Elder, Juab, and Tooele counties.

    Write to your members of Congress and tell them to oppose this latest land grab attempt!

    These so-called routes, many of which are simply faded two-tracks, cow paths or streambeds in the desert, run directly across federal public lands and fragment critical habitats, proposed wilderness, wilderness study areas, and even parts of the designated Cedar Mountain Wilderness! Caught up in the state’s land grab fever, these counties have sued the federal government to wrest control of these bogus routes, but are unlikely to win the majority in court. Forfeiting them now in this bill would set a dangerous precedent, not just in Utah, but throughout the West.

    Tell your members of Congress that national defense is perfectly compatible with protecting our national heritage!

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    Many of the so-called routes granted to counties in this bill are simply faded two-tracks, cow paths or streambeds that run directly across federal public lands and fragment critical habitats, proposed wilderness, wilderness study areas, and even parts of the designated Cedar Mountain Wilderness (above). Photo copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    In addition, the legislation disregards bedrock environmental laws including the National Environmental Policy Act, undermines the protection of proposed wilderness areas such as the Newfoundland Mountains, Deep Creek Mountains and Dugway Mountains, and facilitates a land exchange that would trade away wilderness-quality lands.

    Rep. Stewart’s proposed expansion is merely part of the broader effort by the State of Utah to seize our nation’s public lands. We need you to contact your member of Congress and expose this bill for what it is—a land grab shamelessly hiding under the guise of national security.

    Click here to take action now!

    Thank you.

     

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