• January 14th, 2010

    SUWA fights in court to prevent road giveaways to counties

    say they can't rely on government lawyers to safeguard Kane County's
    That's why
    an attorney representing the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, The Wilderness
    Society and the Sierra Club went Wednesday to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
    and asserted that conservation groups should have a seat at the table when Kane
    County and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management decide the fate of more than a
    dozen roads that cross wilderness-quality public lands."  Read More – Salt Lake Tribune

    Choices between large-scale renewable utilities and conservation on public lands play out in California

    "It's easy to see why Schwarzenegger thought it was possible. Earlier
    that year, oilman T. Boone Pickens characterized the Southwest U.S. as
    the Saudi Arabia of solar power, offering the choicest elevation and
    sun strength in the world for optimal power generation. On that, everyone agreed. Where to put the solar panels continues to be a different story."  Read More – Newsweek

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  • January 13th, 2010

    A reminder from Southern Utah that public lands belong to us all…

    "Since federal land belongs to all U.S. citizens, congressmen from New
    York and Utah have an equal say regarding the use of federal lands
    within Utah. If you don't like that constitutional fact, you can move
    to eastern states that contain little or no federal land." Read more – Spectrum

    Rogue dirt bikers trash Moab area park on Thanksgiving

    "Sand Flats staff reported that dirt bikes had ridden off-road and
    off-trail in backcountry areas, “ruthlessly” destroying vegetation that
    Sand Flats officials said has been carefully nurtured over the years as
    workers have attempted to recover the area from extensive vehicle
    damage that occurred in the early 1990s."
    Read more – Moab Times-Independent

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  • January 12th, 2010

    County sets aside lawsuit over bogus roads in the San Rafael Swell

    Emery County is ready to
    abandon a lawsuit that sought ownership of seven back roads in the San
    Rafael Swell region on the advice of the Utah Attorney General’s
    office, which lacks evidence to prove the claims.” Read more – Salt Lake Tribune

    SUWA video makes the news Read more – Utah Policy Daily

    Salazar’s proposed oil and gas leasing reforms a promising start

    “The bureau, he declared bluntly, would no longer be a “candy store” for
    an oil and gas industry that (mixing his metaphors) had been allowed to
    act like “kings of the world” during the Bush years.” Read more – New York Times editorial

    New pipeline recommendations cause environmental concerns

    “Federal regulators are recommending approval of two natural gas
    pipelines that could sharply increase fuel shipments from the Rockies
    to population centers in the Midwest and on the West Coast.The Rockies hold an estimated 375 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, or almost as much as the Gulf of Mexico.” Read more – Associated Press

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  • January 11th, 2010

    KCPW airs debate featuring our Conservation Director Steve Bloch on Secretary Salazar's proposed oil & gas leasing reforms

    "Environmentalists are lauding Interior Secretary
    Ken Salazar’s new guidelines for oil and gas leasing on public lands, an issue
    that hits home in Utah
    after the secretary controversially pulled dozens of leases from an auction in
    late 2008.  But energy developers says they’ll lead to unnecessary delays." Listen – KCPW

    High Country News columnist commends Nine Mile Canyon deal

    "The world's longest outdoor art gallery will finally get
    some protection from the gas drilling that threatens it. Eastern Utah's Nine Mile
    , some 78 miles
    long, contains hundreds of homesteaders’ cabins, stage stops, cliff dwellings
    and granaries, and more than 10,000 Anasazi and Fremont petroglyphs." Read More – HCN

    Apparently not everyone appreciates Utah's cultural treasures…

    "What's the big deal? I found myself thinking. If any of this
    gets lost we can put some third graders to work on nearby unmarked rocks."  Read More – Deseret News

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  • January 7th, 2010
    visit the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance website

    January 2010

    Here's what is happening this month with the redrock:
    BLM oil & gas policy changes stem from SUWA's legal victories.
    2.  Wild lands in the Zion-Mojave region are still threatened by off-road vehicles.
    3.  Subscribe to Redrock Headlines!
    4.  New redrock bill cosponsors include Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME).
    5.  Find out if SUWA's slideshow and other redrock presentations are happening at a location near you.

    BLM Announces Policy Reform Long Sought by SUWA

    Wednesday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Assistant Secretary Wilma Lewis and
    BLM Director Bob Abbey announced reforms to the agency's oil and gas
    program — based in large part on the result of SUWA's advocacy on these

    The reforms

    — Curtailing
    the over-use of statutory “categorical exclusions” that exempted proposed drilling permits from analysis required under the
    National Environmental Policy Act.  BLM
    will now have to ensure that potential impacts to important resources such as
    wilderness and cultural sites are fully analyzed before issuing new approvals.  This reform stems from a lawsuit SUWA and
    others brought against BLM challenging the agency’s use of this short-cut around
    environmental laws.

    — Changing
    the way oil and gas leases are offered. 
    BLM has pledged to conduct an on-the-ground review of most individual land
    parcels being considered for leasing, increase public input in the leasing
    process and to offer special consideration to areas with wilderness, cultural,
    water and wildlife resources.  These
    policies stemmed from SUWA’s legal victory in January 2009 that halted the sale of 77
    controversial leases offered at Utah BLM’s December 2008 lease sale and brought the Obama administration’s attention to deficiencies in BLM’s leasing

    This long
    overdue announcement is a good first step to turning around the Bush
    administration’s irresponsible rush to lease special places in Utah.  We are still waiting to see how these new
    policies will be implemented in Utah
    to better protect the redrock.

    Click here to see the
    conservation community’s press release

    Threatened Places: Zion-Mojave Wild Lands

     Square Top
    Square Top Mountain
    Butcher Knife
    Butcher Knife Canyon

    (Photos copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA)

    the Washington County Growth and Conservation Act of 2009 protected much of
    Utah’s Zion-Mojave wilderness and SUWA supported the bill’s final passage, this
    legislation was not perfect.  Some
    deserving lands were left unprotected, including Dry Creek, Square Top, Butcher
    Knife Canyon, and the Beaver Dam Mountains. 

    our Utah Wilderness Coalition partners and congressional champions, we fought hard
    to improve the Washington County bill.  Because it was a fight to the end, there was
    never any stated agreement between wilderness advocates and the bill’s proponents.   As a
    result the proposed wilderness lands omitted from the Washington County
    legislation remain in Congressman Hinchey’s America’s Red Rock
    Wilderness Act (ARRWA).  And we need your
    help to keep these lands wild.

    Bureau of Land Management will soon create an off-road vehicle (ORV) travel
    plan for the area.   Please urge the St.
    George BLM office to protect proposed wilderness areas omitted from the Washington County bill,
    such as Dry Creek and the Beaver Dam Mountains.  Comments can be
    sent to:

    of Land Management — St. George Field Office
    Tyree, Manager
    345 East Riverside Drive
    St. George, UT 84790

    Phone (435) 688-3200
    Fax (435) 688-3252



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    *New Cosponsor Spotlight* 

    Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)

    Towards the end of 2009, the number of cosponsors of America's Red Rock Wilderness Act continued to grow.  Those recently signing onto to the bill are Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME).  If you live in any of the above districts, please thank your representative!

    For a full list of cosponsors, click here.  If your members of Congress are not on the list of cosponsors, please ask them to sign onto the bill by clicking here


    SUWA's Slideshow is Back on the Road in 2010!

    SUWA's multi-media slideshow presentation, Wild Utah: America's Redrock Wilderness, will be traveling across the country in January and February!

    SUWA's Midwest Field Organizer, Clayton Daughenbaugh, will be presenting in Iowa and Illinois in January and Missouri in February.  For more information or to schedule a slideshow in the Midwest, email Clayton at clayton@suwa.org

    SUWA's National Grassroots Organizer, Jackie Feinberg, will be traveling to Pennsylvania in January and Virginia and Pennsylvania in February.  For more information or to schedule a slideshow along the East Coast, email at jackie@suwa.org.   

    In addition to SUWA's organizers, dedicated Utah wilderness activists will be giving talks about the redrock around the country this year, including Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Washington this January and February.  Please see our slideshow schedule for more details.

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