suwa, Author at Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance


  • April 20th, 2021

    Dozens of members of Congress have recently urged President Biden to restore Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, which were illegally dismantled by the Trump administration. In three letters led by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), the members cited the monuments’ cultural significance and the need to preserve their natural and scientific values. The Durbin letter closes with an emphatic call for full restoration:

    “We wholeheartedly support the full restoration of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the expansion of Bears Ears National Monument. Securing durable, meaningful protection for these places and their irreplaceable objects is entirely consistent with the President’s stated goals and policies; anything less would fall short of what is required at this moment and would jeopardize these treasured lands.”

    25 senators signed the letters, including: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

    The House letter was signed by: Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO), Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM), Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rep. Jesus G. “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL), Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Rep. Nydia Valazquez (D-NY), Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. David Scott (D-GA), Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. James P. McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Salud O. Carbajal (D-CA), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Rep. Donald Beyer Jr. (D-VA), Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Rep. William R. Keating (D-MA), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA), Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Rep. Susan K. Delbene (D-WA) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA).

    If any of these members of Congress represent you, please click here to thank them for supporting full restoration of Utah’s monuments!

  • April 16th, 2021

    Get the details behind a new scientific report from EcoAdapt: Contribution of the America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act to Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Efforts. The report is authored by EcoAdapt’s Laura Hillberg, and she joins us to explain its conclusions.

    Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Wild Utah’s theme music, “What’s Worth?” is composed by Moab singer-songwriter Haley Noel Austin. Post studio production and editing is by Jerry Schmidt.

    Listen on your favorite app!

    wildutah.info/Stitcher
    wildutah.info/Apple
    wildutah.info/Spotify

  • April 13th, 2021

    The Biden administration has begun the process of reviewing and modernizing the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) outdated and broken oil and gas leasing program—and not a moment too soon.

    As President Biden recognized in his January 27th executive order, “[w]e have a narrow moment to pursue action at home and abroad in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of [the climate] crisis and to seize the opportunity that tackling climate change presents.”

    The Interior Department is accepting public comments on the leasing review process through this Thursday, April 15th. Click here to submit your comments to Interior Secretary Haaland now.

    Four long years of the Trump administration’s “energy dominance” agenda highlighted just how broken the BLM’s oil and gas program has become and why significant changes are needed. Among the larger problems:

    • The BLM’s oil and gas leasing program plays a significant role in the climate crisis. According to the most recent data available from the United States Geological Survey, nationwide emissions from fossil fuels produced on federal lands represents 23.7 percent of national emissions for carbon dioxide, 7.3 percent for methane, and 1.5 percent for nitrous oxide over a ten-year period. All told, nearly a quarter of all U.S. carbon emissions come from fossil fuels extracted from our federal public lands.
    • Oil and gas operators currently hold thousands of leases across millions of acres of public land that they have not developed. In Utah, for example, 63 percent of the existing leases are sitting idle. Many of the leases were sold by the BLM for as little as $1.50 per acre.
    • Oil and gas operators across the West are sitting on almost 10,000 unused drilling permits. In Utah, the pace of new drilling has come to a near standstill and operators only develop approximately half of the permits that are approved. This slowdown is market-driven and occurred even during the Trump administration.

    As these statistics make clear, fossil fuel development on public lands poses a grave threat to our climate and the very last thing we need to do is make even more lands available for leasing and drilling.

    Crucially, these public lands—if left intact and protected from oil and gas leasing—can mitigate the worst effects of climate change. A recently released report estimates that passage of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act would permanently keep in the ground greenhouse gas emissions equal to 5.7 percent of the carbon budget necessary to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. These same lands are estimated to currently sequester and store 247 million metric tons of organic carbon.

    Tell Secretary Haaland that you support making the protection of our public lands a central pillar of America’s climate campaign.

    For far too long the BLM has wrongly elevated oil and gas leasing and development as the primary use of our nation’s public lands, threatening our climate, wildlife, cultural treasures, and wild places. This unbalanced approach must stop now.

    Please tell the Biden administration to end oil and gas leasing on our public lands—and especially those proposed for wilderness designation under America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

    Click here to submit your comments to Interior Secretary Haaland by April 15th.

    If you prefer, you can submit your comments directly to the Interior Department at energyreview@ios.doi.gov.

    Thank you!