Jen Ujifusa, Author at Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance - Page 5 of 5

  • 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!

  • May 19th, 2015

    Great news! Today Sen. Richard Durbin and Rep. Alan Lowenthal joined forces to introduce America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (S. 1375/H.R. 2430) in Congress, the visionary legislation that would protect 9.2 million acres of Utah’s world-renowned public lands as wilderness.

    If they are your representatives, please thank them!

    A few weeks ago we asked you to contact your members of Congress to ask them to become original cosponsors of the Redrock bill, and you really came through! Joining Sen. Durbin and Rep. Lowenthal are 14 senators and 77 members of the House of Representatives. These members know that places like Desolation Canyon, Labyrinth Canyon, Greater Cedar Mesa, and the San Rafael Swell are the birthright and heritage of all Americans and deserve permanent protection.

    The full list of cosponsors is here. If your representatives are on it, please thank them!

    copyright James Kay

    Behind the Rocks proposed wilderness, copyright James Kay

    Cosponsoring the legislation is a great start, but we’re going to need more help from members of Congress this year to try to advance protections and defend against attacks on Utah’s wild lands. Our friends in Congress need to hear from you in order to stand strong against the many extreme environmental initiatives we face.

    Contact your members today and let them know how much you appreciate them standing up for Utah’s wilderness!

    If your representative or senators are missing from the cosponsor list, ask them to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act today!

    Together we can save the Redrock. Thanks for all you do.

  • May 7th, 2015

    Great news! Sen. Richard Durbin and Rep. Alan Lowenthal will soon reintroduce America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in Congress, setting forth the vision for protecting 9.2 million acres of deserving public lands in Southern Utah—places like White Canyon, Desolation Canyon and the San Rafael Swell. You can help them make a splash by contacting your members of Congress and asking for their support!

    Ask your representatives to join Sen. Durbin and Rep. Lowenthal as a cosponsor!

    San Rafael Swell (Wedge), LeslieScopesAnderson(72dpi)

    San Rafael Swell, Leslie Scopes Anderson

    The Redrock bill is more important than ever. As we work with the delegation on a comprehensive lands bill in Eastern Utah, strong support for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act underscores the importance of these lands for all Americans and sets the parameters for necessary protections in the state. We can save the redrock with help from you and our allies in Congress.

    Please contact your members of Congress today to ask them to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act!

    Contacting your members really works. Last Congress we had a record-setting 23 Senate cosponsors, and this year we hope to garner even more support. We have about a week to gather as many original cosponsors as we can—are you ready to help?

    Click here to send your message now.

    If you can, go the extra mile by making a phone call to your representative and senators to amplify your message. Dial the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and the switchboard operator will connect you with the office you request.

    Thank you!

  • July 30th, 2014
    Canyonlands Overlook, GrantCollier

    Copyright Grant Collier

    Big news coming out of Washington today!  This week, 14 senators, led by Senator Dick Durbin, sent a letter to President Obama encouraging him to use the Antiquities Act to designate Greater Canyonlands a National Monument. These senators recognize that Greater Canyonlands is a national treasure that remains unprotected.

    “Although Canyonlands National Park is the heart of the area, we support the opportunity to protect Greater Canyonlands, a 1.8 million acre area of land that encompasses the Park,” the senators wrote. “Greater Canyonlands is one of our nation’s most stunning, wild, and unique landscapes.  It should be protected permanently for the benefit and education of future generations.”

    This hasn’t happened before in this administration.  Fourteen senators, representing 13 states and more than 100 million Americans, asked President Obama to create a new national monument.  Those senators are Sen. Durbin (IL), Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT), Sen. Brian Schatz (HI), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT), Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH), Sen. Patty Murray (WA), Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Sen. Ed Markey (MA), Sen. Tom Harkin (IA), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (WI) and Sen. Robert Menendez (NJ).

    If you live in one of these states, please thank your senator!

    The senators wrote, “The promise of Greater Canyonlands remains unfulfilled.  As Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has noted, ‘there are some places that are too special to develop.’   Greater Canyonlands is certainly one of those.  We urge you to consider using your authority under the Antiquities Act to write the final chapter for this national treasure and declare Greater Canyonlands a national monument.”

    We’re so grateful to these senators.  Add your voice here by asking President Obama to protect Greater Canyonlands!

    Read the senators’ letter:
    Greater Canyonlands ltr to President (thumbnail)

  • July 15th, 2010

    Tilting at windmills: The Congressional Western Caucus
    If a bullet is fired from an echo chamber, does it make a war? The Congressional Western Caucus must think so, as it was up in arms Wednesday fighting the so-called “War on Western Jobs” by hosting a fake Congressional hearing on Capitol Hill with the help of several Utah representatives.

    Never mind that no such war exists. Never mind that seven of the 25 counties with the fastest job growth in America are within these “besieged” Western states—three of them in Utah.

    Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Bob Bennett and Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah still deployed to denounce important reforms on extractive industries, the Clean Water Act and other standard policies as a War of Eastern Aggression, rather than common sense measures. Headlining the witness list was Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who earlier in the week showed us his dove side by shying away from the war rhetoric. Still, the Beehive State, it seemed, was on the front lines, having been “attacked” by Interior Sec. Ken Salazar’s decision to refund 77 oil leases on sensitive lands that had been hastily sold and undervalued in a lease sale based on flawed management plans in December 2008.

    In a video-delivered message, Uintah County Commissioner Mike McKee said that action cost his county 3,000 jobs—an impressive figure that according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services would have employed his 1,112 jobless constituents three times over­ were it real. But unfortunately, jobs do not an issued lease make. At the end of December 2009, over 4,000 permits issued in Utah since 2001 had not yet been drilled, and thus were not producing anything—including jobs.

    Regrettably, oil companies’ penchant for buying up leases to improve paper reserves (over 3 million acres of BLM lands in Utah are under lease but not in production) went unmentioned.

    Nor was the bargain rate at which these leases were sold raised as a fiscal concern. Some leases sold for as little as 1.2 percent of their established value in the December 2008 sale. One parcel in Desolation Canyon sold for the frontier sum of $11 an acre, while just 10 months earlier another parcel in Desolation Canyon fetched $950 an acre. Gov. Herbert, who complained that federal land can’t be taxed–“If I had the choice, just give me back the land and make it private,” he told the Caucus—seemed unconcerned about lost public revenue in this case.

    Herbert actually defended the sale, saying the Resource Management Plans came about as the “result of a thoughtful, methodical process.”  That’s simply not the case. If the plans issued in the waning hours of the Bush administration were methodical, the method was drill and drive on everything at the expense of Utah’s breathtaking wilderness lands. That’s a policy that’s too expensive to keep, and one Sec. Salazar must fix immediately by protecting remaining wilderness quality lands as Wilderness Study Areas.