• December 17th, 2018

    Welcome to the SUWA podcast, Wild Utah!

    Dave Pacheco speaks with SUWA’s Kya Marienfeld and Wild Utah Project’s Allison Jones about the Utah BLM’s ecologically destructive practice of “chaining” — or, in the BLM’s vernacular, “vegetation treatment.” This practice of mechanically removing trees, shrubs and virtually all vegetation from otherwise healthy pinion-juniper forests — often to benefit domestic livestock — is being challenged by conservationists as an extreme overreaction to a non-existent problem.

    Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Our theme music, “What’s Worth?” is written and performed in Moab by Haley Noel Austin. Wild Utah is recorded at the studio of KRCL 90.9 FM, Community Radio of Utah in Salt Lake City. Our producer is Jerry Schmidt. We thank you all for generously donating your time, equipment and talent to Wild Utah.

    Posted by
  • December 17th, 2018

    Immediate Opening (12/17/18)

    The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), Utah’s largest conservation organization, has an immediate opening for a full-time Travel Management Campaign Director in its Salt Lake City office. Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, transcript, 3-5 page writing sample (original work), and 3 references to Neal Clark at hiring@suwa.org. The deadline to submit your application is January 11, 2019.

    SUWA’s Travel Management Campaign Director will be responsible for developing, implementing, and coordinating of all aspects of SUWA’s motorized travel management planning campaign, with a primary emphasis on developing innovative strategies to obtain closure of priority off-road vehicle routes through the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) administrative travel planning processes. The work will focus on forthcoming travel management plans for BLM-managed public lands throughout southern and eastern Utah. These plans are being developed over the course of the next six years (2019-2024). Additional travel planning is likely for additional BLM field offices and National Park Service units in the coming years. 

    The Travel Management Campaign Director will manage all aspects of SUWA’s travel management planning work, including: developing campaign and legal strategies; coordinating travel planning-related fieldwork and managing associated data; drafting and submitting comments on travel plans throughout the NEPA process; hiring and managing seasonal fieldworkers and contractors; engaging grassroots membership and activists around planning processes; interacting with federal agency staff, scientists, and federal, state, and local elected officials; and assisting with litigation if necessary. The Travel Management Campaign Director will work closely with other staff in SUWA’s Moab, Salt Lake City, and Washington, D.C. offices, and will report to SUWA’s Wildlands Program Director.

    SUWA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the outstanding wilderness at the heart of the Colorado Plateau, and the management of these lands in their natural state for the benefit of all Americans. SUWA promotes local and national recognition of the region’s unique character through research and public education; supports both administrative and legislative initiatives to permanently protect the Colorado Plateau wild places within the National Park and National Wilderness Preservation Systems, or by other protective designations where appropriate; builds support for such initiatives on both the local and national level; and provides leadership within the conservation movement through uncompromising advocacy for wilderness preservation.

    Travel Management Campaign Director Responsibilities

    • Develop and oversee implementation of a strategic plan to achieve travel management planning objective of closing priority off-road vehicle routes through administrative processes
    • Develop and manage travel management planning campaigns
    • Review environmental analyses and draft/submit comments on proposed travel management plans
    • Coordinate fieldwork and hire/manage seasonal fieldworkers and other contractors
    • Manage fieldwork data and GIS needs
    • Meet regularly and develop strong relationships with BLM staff in Utah
    • Communicate with the media
    • Conduct legal research and document review
    • Work closely with SUWA’s wildlands and legal teams to further project objectives
    • Coordinate with SUWA’s grassroots team to organize members and activists in support of travel management planning campaigns
    • Represent SUWA in federal court litigation of travel management plans (if necessary)

    Requirements

    • Demonstrated commitment to wilderness preservation and SUWA’s mission
    • Basic understanding of BLM travel management planning and NEPA processes
    • Excellent writing and analytical skills
    • Initiative, discipline, attention to detail, and an ability to meet deadlines 
    • Creative thinking and problem solving
    • Self-motivation
    • Ability to handle a substantial workload, which will, at times, require working nights and weekends
    • High degree of professional integrity
    • Courtesy and respect in dealing with colleagues, partners, politicians, the public, the media, and government agencies
    • Willingness to learn GIS mapping
    • Willingness to make a two-year commitment
    • Familiarity with southern Utah wildlands is preferable

    Education Requirements

    • 2-10 years experience—admitted to practice law by a state bar or willingness to sit for or waive into the Utah state bar. Non-attorney applicants with relevant qualifications are also encouraged to apply.

    Location

    • Salt Lake City, Utah—must also be willing to travel throughout Utah one or more times per month for meetings with BLM staff and grassroots activists

    Salary

    • Competitive—based on experience

    SUWA is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. SUWA is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.  

    Posted by
  • December 15th, 2018

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Stephen Bloch, Legal Director, (801)-859-1552 or steve@suwa.org

    Salt Lake City, UT (December 15, 2018) – In response to the announcement of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s departure from President Trump’s cabinet, SUWA legal director Stephen Bloch issued the following statement:

    “Utah’s federal public lands are unquestionably worse off because of Zinke’s corrupt and disastrous tenure as Secretary of the Interior.

    “From spearheading the dismantling of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments to fast-tracking oil and gas leasing across Utah’s red rock wilderness, Zinke’s legacy is one of prioritizing short term exploitation and profiteering over the protection and sound stewardship of America’s public lands.

    “He will undoubtedly go down as one of the worst interior secretaries in living memory. Good riddance.”

    Posted by
  • December 12th, 2018

    Immediate Opening (11/28/2018)

    The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), Utah’s largest conservation organization, has an immediate opening for a full-time Faith Community Organizer based in its Salt Lake City office.  Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume including 3 references, and a 2 page writing sample (original work) to dave@suwa.org. The deadline to submit your application is December 31, 2018. Please include your name and the words “Faith Community Organizer” in the subject line.

    SUWA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the outstanding wilderness at the heart of the Colorado Plateau, and the management of these lands in their natural state for the benefit of all Americans. SUWA promotes local and national recognition of the region’s unique character through research and public education; supports both administrative and legislative initiatives to permanently protect the Colorado Plateau wild places within the National Park and National Wilderness Preservation Systems, or by other protective designations where appropriate; builds support for such initiatives on both the local and national level; and provides leadership within the conservation movement through tireless advocacy for wilderness preservation.

    Description

    The overall goal of the Faith Community Organizer is to build, and make visible, support for the protection of Utah’s remaining wilderness-quality lands from communities of faith in Utah.

    The initial and primary focus of this work will be along the Wasatch Front, although it may involve some work in rural Utah.

    The Faith Community Organizer is also a flexible team player who works cooperatively with SUWA staff, volunteers and activists to build and demonstrate support for protecting Utah’s wilderness quality lands within the broader population as needed.

    Qualifications

    To effectively perform this role, the applicant must possess excellent verbal and written communication skills, the ability to build and maintain relationships, and a strong grasp of social media best practices. Applicants should be self-motivated, demonstrate an understanding of, and a commitment for, the preservation of wilderness, and be able to communicate the importance of stewardship and wilderness conservation to people of faith. Qualified applicants are acquainted with Utah’s faith communities. Demonstrated experience in, and enthusiasm for, grassroots organizing is strongly preferred. Experience in wilderness and/or public lands issues, or with Congress, is preferred but not required.

    Responsibilities

    • Identify members within Utah’s faith communities who have expressed an affinity for stewardship and conservation.  Seek their advice about how SUWA can most effectively engage with their broader communities on wilderness advocacy.
    • Build a network of faith-based community members and leaders who will advocate for wilderness protection.
    • Implement strategies and organize events that build and demonstrate support from Utah’s communities of faith for the protection of Utah’s remaining wild lands, focused in particular on SUWA’s campaigns, including: passing America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, protecting national monuments, blocking the state’s federal land grab, and more.
    • Identify events, venues and activities where SUWA can interact, educate and engage faith community members  (tabling, presentations, service projects, articles in publications, community gatherings, festivals, etc.) and follow through on opportunities.
    • Utilize traditional and social media platforms (such as newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to demonstrate faith community support for the protection of Utah’s remaining wild lands. This includes strategic placement of letters-to-the-editor, guest commentaries, blogs, shares, posts, memes, etc. from people of faith.
    • Build and expand SUWA’s social media outreach to Utah’s faith communities through the use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs and other platforms and services.
    • Help SUWA frame and articulate our mission so that it is relevant and compelling to communities of faith.
    • Identify strategic opportunities for collaboration on issues of mutual concern to the faith community that are within the general reach of SUWA’s mission.

    Salary and Benefits

    Salary is competitive, based on experience.

    A competitive benefits package includes health care coverage, a retirement plan, and paid vacation and sick days. Opportunities for additional training are available.

    SUWA is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. SUWA is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.

    Posted by
  • December 11th, 2018

    The Trump administration today offered up more than 150,000 acres of public land in Utah for fossil fuel development, including in the heart of some of the state’s most iconic landscapes. In response, dozens of Utahns gathered at a press conference in the State Capitol Rotunda to raise their voices in protest.

    SUWA Staff Attorney Landon Newell details the latest assault on Utah’s public lands under the Trump administration’s reckless oil and gas leasing program. Copyright Dave Pacheco/SUWA

    The Bureau of Land Management’s online auction offered 105 parcels of public land for oil and gas leasing and development, some within 10 miles of internationally beloved protected areas including Arches and Canyonlands national parks, Bears Ears and Hovenweep national monuments, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The sale also threatens public lands with wilderness characteristics.

    SUWA staff attorney Landon Newell explained that “Since December 2017 through its upcoming March 2019 lease sale, the BLM will have offered for oil & gas leasing and development approximately 500 lease parcels, consisting of more than 735,000 acres of public lands in Utah. This is an increase of more than seven-fold from what was offered over a similar time frame by the BLM under the Obama administration.”

    Fossil fuel development in these areas threatens multiple sensitive plants and animals, including the Greater sage-grouse, Black-footed ferret, Mexican spotted owl, White River penstemon and Graham’s beardtongue. It also stands to exacerbate already critical air quality problems in the Uinta Basin and would use tremendous amounts of water even as Utah closes out its driest year in recorded history.

    Adding insult to injury, the BLM is rushing to sell off ever larger tracts of our shared heritage in furtherance of the Trump administration’s ill-conceived “energy dominance” agenda, and the agency has moved to “streamline” its lease sale process by eliminating perceived “roadblocks” to energy development. These so-called roadblocks include, according to the agency, regular environmental review and public participation. As a result, the BLM has sold-off hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands for oil and gas development without fully involving the public or analyzing the impacts of its leasing decisions.

    Westminster College Environmental Justice student Liza Van Dyk speaks about the climate impacts of oil & gas leasing and the importance of listening to younger generations. Copyright Dave Pacheco/SUWA

    Westminster College sophomore Eliza Van Dyk put the lease sale in perspective as she conveyed the feelings of an entire generation. “Oil and gas leasing threatens to shatter our visions for a better world. For every well drilled, they are exacerbating the struggles of people who are already intimately experiencing the pain of climate change. And yet, BLM is leasing our futures without even letting us have a say! The absence of an accessible public comment period in the December lease sale has been a despicable violation of our rights as young people to secure just and livable futures for generations to come.”

    Marc Thomas of the Sierra Club’s Glen Canyon Group added, “These parcels offered for sale are almost always rubberstamped with a ‘finding of no significant impact’ regardless of what treasures they contain, whatever other values they may have, and whether they’ve ever even been inventoried.”

    Marc Thomas, Chair of the Sierra Club Glen Canyon Group, describes the BLM’s broken system and how it fails to recognize that “undeveloped lands are a critical buffer against widespread environmental degradation.” Copyright Dave Pacheco/SUWA

    SUWA believes that this uninformed “lease first, think later” approach to oil and gas leasing and development adopted by the BLM is both a disservice to the American people and unlawful. We intend to challenge the agency’s leasing decisions in court.

    Posted by