Bears Ears Archives - Page 12 of 15


  • December 28th, 2016

    BearEarsProtected(2)
    Breaking news! Today, President Barack Obama took action to honor and protect the heritage of Native Americans by designating Bears Ears National Monument using his authority under the Antiquities Act.

    This is a historic moment. The new national monument—the result of a proposal from an unprecedented coalition of Tribal Nations—will safeguard more than 100,000 cultural sites and protect an incredible natural landscape for generations to come.

    Bears Ears also marks the first time that a president has responded to a formal request from sovereign Native American Tribes to use the Antiquities Act to protect public lands and cultural resources.

    Unfortunately, Utah politicians like Representative Rob Bishop have pledged to do all they can to try and undo the President’s action and rescind the national monument.

    As a result—even as we celebrate—it is crucial that people like you who love Utah wilderness take action to defend Bears Ears National Monument.

    Click here to tell your senators to protect Bears Ears National Monument and thank President Obama for his proclamation.

    If you live in Utah, please take a moment right now to tell your Utah representatives that you support Utah’s newest national monument.

    Your action today will help ensure that Bears Ears National Monument remains protected forever.

    Thank you for taking action. And thank you to President Obama for his bold and historic step to elevate the voices of Native Americans in the management of our public lands.

  • December 28th, 2016

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    December 28, 2016

    Moab, UT — In response to President Barack Obama designating the Bears Ears National Monument, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) Executive Director Scott Groene issued the following statement:

    “We applaud the President’s decision and congratulate the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition for this historic protection of their ancestral homeland.  The Monument will long benefit Utahns and Americans.  It is the product of years of public discussion where all agreed this landscape is worthy of permanent protection.

    “We urge the Utah congressional delegation to show leadership in coming down on the right side of history, by respecting the Tribes and supporting the Monument.  Twenty years of history has shown that the fury and fight against the Grand Staircase National Monument accomplished nothing other than perpetuating animosity among Utahns.  We should not repeat that mistake.

    “Instead we should work together for legislation trading school trust lands within the monument for other lands that will benefit our schoolchildren. And with the universal agreement that the region’s extraordinary cultural resources deserve protection, we ask the delegation to ensure adequate funding for monument management.

    “This is an important measure for land conservation and for making amends for our Nation and State’s horrific historic treatment of Native Americans.  We celebrate this step forward.”

    Contact: Mathew Gross, 802-578-3394, mathew@suwa.org

  • December 9th, 2016
    Bears Ears Buttes (Tim Peterson)

    Photo (c) Tim Peterson

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    December 9, 2016

    Contact: Scott Groene, Executive Director, SUWA 801-712-5034

    Yesterday, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s spokesperson said “The House just took its last vote of the year.” With Representative Rob Bishop’s (R-UT) Public Lands Initiative (PLI) having never come to a vote in the 114th House of Representatives, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) Executive Director Scott Groene released the following statement:

    “Now that Congress has gone home without ever voting on the Public Lands Initiative, it’s clear that Representative Bishop’s PLI was not a serious effort to pass legislation, but an attempt to run out the clock and delay the protection of Bears Ears as a national monument by President Obama.

    “SUWA, like many organizations, began working with Representative Bishop nearly four years ago in good faith and in the hope that meaningful conservation could be achieved through constructive dialogue.

    “Unfortunately, the bill that Representative Bishop introduced in July was a giveaway to the energy industry, and chock full of poison pills that meant it would never enjoy bipartisan support in Congress.

    “However, the one point of bipartisan agreement is that the Bears Ears region is a treasured landscape. Governor Herbert, the majority of the Utah legislature, the San Juan County commission, and the Utah delegation have all agreed that Bears Ears is worthy of enhanced protection, though of course they had hoped to see that protection happen through the PLI.

    “Now that Representative Bishop has utterly failed to deliver on years of promises to safeguard this region from looting and industrial development, it is time for President Obama to step in where Congress has failed and protect Bears Ears as a national monument. Protecting Bears Ears cannot wait any longer.”

    # # #

  • September 22nd, 2016

    Today, the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee “marked up” Rep. Rob Bishop’s terrible Public Lands Initiative (PLI)—the bill that seeks to roll back federal land protections, unleash a fossil fuel bonanza, and give away lands belonging to all Americans to the State of Utah.  As if that isn’t reckless enough, the bill fails to protect even half of the region’s deserving wilderness and it utterly fails to respect the efforts of five united Native American tribes to secure meaningful protection for the Bears Ears region—a landscape rich in cultural and natural wonders.

    A “mark up” is a congressional procedure in which members are supposed to take the information they learn from witnesses at a hearing and apply that information by attempting to improve the bill through amendments. Several wilderness champions in the House did just that, offering amendments that would spruce up the PLI and at least bring it into accordance with the Wilderness Act, the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and several other federal laws that are undermined by Bishop’s bill. Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Raul Ruiz (D-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO) all offered up commonsense amendments to repair just some of the bill’s significant environmental flaws, and argued admirably against the bill’s harmful provisions. It was apparent that they listened to the testimonies and worked to fix the bill accordingly.

    If any of them are your Representatives, please call their offices and thank them for fighting the PLI today! The Capitol Switchboard is 202-224-3121. You can also watch the debate here.

    USEME_PLIvsBEmemeWhiteCanyonStructure
    Rep. Bishop, for his part, ignored last week’s testimony by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management opposing the bill, ignored the testimony of Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, a member of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition (also opposing the bill), and continued to ignore the voices of other tribes, conservationists, and the more that 300 million Americans that own the public lands in question.

    In fact, the only amendment Rep. Bishop offered to his bill was one for technical changes—fixing typos, grammatical errors and the like. It was the only amendment of the day that passed, and in Rep. Bishop’s hopelessly stacked committee, the bill eventually passed too, on a party line vote.

    But don’t worry. From here on out, the Public Lands Initiative has no chance.

    As pointed out by Reps. Grijalva, Tsongas, and Lowenthal, the bill simply will not advance in the Senate. It contains too many poison pills, too many egregious violations of bedrock environmental law, too little wilderness, and too little compromise for that body to approve. But let’s say, just for argument, that it did pass the Senate. What president is going to sign into law a bill that was opposed by multiple agencies within his or her own administration? Do you think President Obama, who has protected more public lands in his time in the Oval Office than any of his predecessors, would sign into law the PLI, which imperils millions of acres of deserving wilderness?

    The simple answer is no. He wouldn’t do that. So the PLI is doomed, dead, failed. And it’s too bad, because we spent precious years working on it in earnest before it became obvious the bill would go nowhere good.

    Now the focus must turn to what still is achievable: protecting the 1.9 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument that has been requested by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. Throughout the PLI discussions, it has often been said by the Utah delegation that everyone agrees the Bears Ears region deserves protection. And we certainly do. Now that it’s clear the PLI cannot do the job, President Obama should step in. Click here to send a message asking him to Protect Bears Ears now!

  • July 27th, 2016

    In response to Senator Mike Lee’s “field hearing” in Blanding today to discuss the Public Lands Initiative (PLI) and “the potential impacts of large-scale monument designations,” Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) Executive Director Scott Groene released the following statement:

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