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  • May 6th, 2022

    SUWA is pleased to announce that on Friday April 29th, at their 117th annual convention, lay and clergy delegates of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah passed a Resolution in Support of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act and for the Perpetual Protection and Management of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments.

    The 155-year-old Episcopal Church in Utah officially supports the campaigns to protect these special places, and it will actively work for congressional passage of America’s Redrock Wilderness Act. These efforts benefit future generations of Americans and show respect for Indigenous people with ties to the land. The church’s support strengthens the America the Beautiful effort to protect 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030, and it furthers action to combat climate change and stem the global loss of biodiversity by protecting habitat for all living beings. The strong support demonstrated by the Episcopal Diocese of Utah is greatly appreciated.

  • January 31st, 2022

    Great news! Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently sent a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland urging her department to designate new wilderness study areas as part of the Biden administration’s goal of protecting 30 percent of public lands and waters by 2030. That crucial goal simply isn’t possible without the robust participation of the Department of the Interior, which is the nation’s largest land manager. And with the climate and extinction crises wreaking havoc on our world, the time to act is now.

    Joining Sen. Durbin on the letter were six other senators: Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

    If any of these senators represent you, please click here to thank them now.

    “Our remote lands are overlooked sometimes in conversations about addressing the climate crisis, but their contributions will be crucial. Public lands not only support complex ecosystems, but also can sequester carbon and make areas more resilient to the impacts of climate change,” the senators wrote in their letter.

    “More than 29 million acres of public lands are in need of protection. For years, DOI has not utilized its ability to protect these lands, leaving places like the Vermillion Basin in Colorado, Granite Range in Nevada, the Bodie Hills in California, Hatch Canyon in Utah, Otero Mesa in New Mexico, and the Owyhee Canyonlands in Oregon without proper protection for their unique resources. Without proper protections, these lands face many threats that could jeopardize wilderness-quality values the Bureau of Land Management stated these lands have.”

    To read the full text of the letter, click here.

    As the senators rightly point out, protecting public lands is one of the key ways we can help mitigate the climate crisis. We are extremely grateful to them for connecting the dots, and for reaching out to the Interior Department with solutions.

    If any of your senators are listed above, please thank them for standing up for wilderness across the West!

    Thank you.

  • December 1st, 2021

    Great news! The Navajo Nation Council has passed a resolution in support of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, a first-of-its-kind endorsement that acknowledges the role protecting public lands can play in combating climate change.

    “Protecting our land is important to the Navajo people and we support this wilderness designation in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act,” said Speaker Seth Damon (Bááhaalí, Chichiltah, Manuelito, Red Rock, Rock Springs, Tséyatoh). “President Biden outlined a robust policy change across the federal government to address climate change. It is imperative that the Navajo Nation work on a global level to address this growing problem that affects our oceans, air, and water.”

    Will you take this moment to stand with the Tribe and ask your members of Congress to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act?

    Comb Ridge. Copyright Tim Peterson, flown by LightHawk

    Sponsored by Senator Dick Durbin and Representative Alan Lowenthal, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act would designate more than 8 million acres of Bureau of Land Management land as wilderness, the highest form of protection for federal lands. The bill would protect iconic Utah landscapes such as Cedar Mesa, Factory Butte, the Kaiparowits Plateau, and the Greater Canyonlands area.

    As the ancestral home of many Tribes, the region contains abundant and significant cultural resources. Protecting these wild landscapes would also keep a significant amount of fossil fuels in the ground, accounting for 5.7 percent of the carbon mitigation needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

    “Our support for this Congressional bill sends a message that the Navajo Nation is concerned about climate change and the impact on our environment,” said Delegate Herman Daniels, Jr. “Since time immemorial, we have lived in the canyons, mountains, and on the mesas currently managed by the federal government that would be protected and preserved by this Congressional bill. For generations, our Indigenous people across the United States have been the original caretakers of our sacred lands and it will remain so.”

    Please ask your members of Congress to support America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act today. And if any of your representatives are already cosponsors, please click here to thank them.

    SUWA is committed to working with Tribes to help protect the redrock permanently. We are grateful to the Navajo Nation for their efforts to support America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

    Add your voice by asking your members of Congress to cosponsor today!

  • May 13th, 2021

    SUWA and coalition partners across the country are calling on the Department of Interior to assert its long-held and ongoing authority to inventory and manage Wilderness Study Areas as a practical and secure means of achieving national conservation and restoration goals. We discuss the role BLM wilderness study areas, in Utah and across the western U.S., can play in helping to connect wildlife corridors, protect biodiversity, and mitigate the climate crisis.

    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
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  • May 11th, 2021

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Jen Ujifusa, Legislative Director,  jen@suwa.org 

    Washington, DC (May 11, 2021) –  Yesterday, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced S. 1535, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, the seminal legislation that would protect 8.4 million acres of public lands in Utah as wilderness.

    The wild and expansive lands proposed for protection under America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act comprise a prime piece of what scientists say is needed today—protecting 30% of America’s lands and waters by the year 2030 in order to prevent catastrophic collapse of our natural systems. Centrally located in the Intermountain West, these lands are also a vital link in the interconnected chain of largely undisturbed ecosystems running from the Grand Canyon to Glacier National Park, providing important migration corridors for wildlife.

    In response to the Senate reintroduction, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) legislative director Jen Ujifusa issued the following statement: 

    “America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act is more important than ever as we face the Climate Crisis and the Nature Crisis, as its passage would keep fossil fuels in the ground, preserve habitat connectivity and resiliency, and allow the desert lands to continue to sequester carbon, all while protecting the visual and cultural resources contained on the land for generations to come. 

    “We are grateful for the leadership shown by Senator Durbin and Senate co-sponsors, and we look forward to beginning an earnest discussion with the Biden administration and Congressional leaders on how America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act can play a crucial role in achieving the administration’s goal of protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030.”

    Signing onto the legislation as cosponsors were Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

    Recent peer-reviewed research shows that passage of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act would make a significant contribution to mitigating climate change. Protecting these wild landscapes would keep a significant amount of fossil fuels in the ground.

    All lands proposed for wilderness designation in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act are owned by the American public and administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 

    Additional resources:

    Statement from Sen. Dick Durbin.

    Report: The Role of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in Protecting Biodiversity and Mitigating the Climate Crisis (PDF).