A band of badgers confronted Utah state officials today about their efforts to turn federal public lands over to the state of Utah to own or manage. “How can we trust the state with our public lands when they assert that badgers loot artifacts and deny that human driven climate change is damaging the health of our public lands and forests?” asked the badgers. “The answer is that we can’t.”
The badgers were referring to state legislator Mike Noel’s claim last year that badgers were to blame for digging up artifacts in the Bears Ears area. Noel asserted that “those little suckers are going down and digging up artifacts and sticking them in their holes.”
Spokesperson Badger John cleared the name of badgers: “This is a falsehood. Badgers do not loot archaeological sites, people do.”
The badgers also criticized the state for denying the deleterious effects of climate change on public lands and forests, pointing out that human-driven climate change is having real, measurable impacts every day that range from hotter, more intense wildfires to prolonged drought and multiple thousand-year storm events occurring over just a few years. “But the legislature and this commission refuse to recognize these indisputable truths,” lamented Badger John.
Several commissioners said they cared about badgers, but continued to insist that federal public lands in Utah would be better managed by the state. The badgers wholeheartedly rejected that claim. Calling upon history, they noted that it was the failure of states to adequately steward America’s public lands that led to higher national standards in the first place.
“When this commission asks people for trust while simultaneously spreading falsehoods and denying widely accepted science, it earns the mistrust of people and badgers everywhere,” they said. “Leave Utah’s federal lands in America’s public hands.”
The badgers traveled from their burrows in southern Utah to the State Capitol for the meeting of the Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands—a misnamed commission seeking ways to advance the transfer of federal lands to the state of Utah.
SUWA is pleased to have badgers as allies in our fight to protect our public wild lands!