Blog Archives - Page 8 of 137

  • August 24th, 2017

    In August, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke sent his final monument report to the White House.

    Remarkably, Secretary Zinke refused to divulge what his final recommendations are. But early reports from the Washington Post indicate that Zinke is recommending President Trump unilaterally (and illegally) shrink both Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments.

    Secretary Zinke’s illegal recommendations to the president are the latest salvo in this administration’s continued attacks on America’s public lands.

    It’s outrageous that after 99% of the more than 2.8 million comments received by the secretary supported keeping our monuments protected, Secretary Zinke is still recommending that the president illegally attack our national treasures.

    The truth is, President Trump doesn’t have the legal authority to modify a national monument. If Trump follows Zinke’s recommendations, SUWA’s attorneys—working in concert with our partners from around the country—will quickly challenge his illegal action in court.

    To avoid years of costly litigation, President Trump would do well to simply throw Secretary Zinke’s report in the White House trash.

  • August 24th, 2017

    In response to news that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has delivered his monuments report to the White House, SUWA executive director Scott Groene released the following statement:

    “Secretary Zinke’s illegal recommendations to the President are the latest salvo in this administration’s attacks on America’s public lands. It’s outrageous that after 99% of the more than 2.8 million comments received by the Secretary supported keeping our monuments protected, Secretary Zinke is still recommending the President illegally attack our national treasures. President Trump should throw this report away.”

    Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument, Devils Garden.

  • August 15th, 2017

    Kane and Garfield County Commissions held a series of unlawful meetings over Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, violating Utah’s Open and Public Meetings Act

    For Immediate Release
    August 15, 2017

    Laura Peterson, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, 801.236.3762
    David Reymann, Parr Brown Gee & Loveless, 801.257.7939

    Today, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance filed a lawsuit in Utah’s Third District Court alleging that Kane and Garfield Counties violated Utah’s Open and Public Meetings Act when county commissioners met with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and others in a closed-door meeting to discuss the fate of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.  In the lawsuit, SUWA asserts that on or around May 10, 2017, Kane and Garfield County commissioners met with Interior Secretary Zinke and other officials in Utah regarding the future of the almost 21-year-old national monument.  The meeting was not publicly noticed and county commissioners did not allow members of the public to attend or participate in the meeting.

    “These commission meetings are textbook violations of Utah’s Open and Public Meetings Act.  Because the commissions met with Secretary Zinke and other officials and discussed the future of these national monuments they need to provide public notice and allow the public an opportunity to attend the meeting.  That’s the whole point of the Act: for state and local government to conduct public business out in the open,” said David Reymann, an attorney with the Salt Lake City law firm Parr Brown Gee & Loveless.

    “The Utah Open and Public Meetings Act requires county commissioners to deliberate and take actions openly and transparently.  Kane and Garfield county commissions’ secret meetings with Secretary Zinke and other government officials about Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are unlawful and cannot continue.  SUWA members in these counties have an intense interest in protecting Utah’s national monuments and would have attended these meetings and vocally advocated for their protection had they known about them,” said Laura Peterson, staff attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

    Mr. Reymann is representing SUWA in its suit against Kane and Garfield Counties.


  • August 11th, 2017

    In July, a Resolution supporting Latinx engagement in the great outdoors and conservation was introduced  to the U.S. Senate. The Resolution is supported by Democrats and Republicans across the nation as well as in the House of Representatives. It affirms the role Latinos have to play in conservation efforts, supports the meaningful engagement of Latinos in conservation, and encourages Latino communities to participate in various activities that foster a love of the outdoors and drive conservation awareness. The implications of this simple resolution are bright for U.S. public lands and over 56.6 million Latinx and Hispanic U.S. residents.  It means that our precious redrock country will have more voices to speak for its protection.

    Efforts to protect public lands in Utah and our nation’s most delicate and threatened ecosystems will only succeed as far as the number of people willing to speak up for them. In order to speak for our public lands, Latinx communities must get to know the places we are speaking for. Places like the San Rafael Swell, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and the numerous canyons, rivers, and cultural sites throughout southern Utah are the inheritance of all American people. Yet, Hispanic and Latinx populations are underrepresented in these areas. For example, the Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service reported that 14 percent of forest visitors identified as Hispanic—a harrowing number considering that populations in Arizona and New Mexico are 48 percent and 31 percent Hispanic respectively. The most recent National Park Service study on visitation likewise confirmed that communities of color are underrepresented in public lands—22 percent of visitors are minorities, though they make up 37 percent of the population.

    Organizations are working nationally to remedy this discrepancy while equipping Latinx and Hispanic communities with the tools to stand up for public land conservation. Twenty-one organizations undersigned in a letter urging Congress to support the resolution are spearheading Latinx community engagement in conservation by helping eliminate barriers to public lands through education, democratic participation, service, recreation, and amplifying Latinx voices for conservation.

    SUWA has joined the movement with the addition of our new Latinx Community Organizer (yours truly). Our goals fall right in line with this resolution and the guiding principles of the Next 100 Coalition: to ensure that our public lands reflect the faces of our country, celebrate all cultures, and actively engage all racial and ethnic communities in shaping the future of our public lands. We will do this by proactively creating opportunities for local Latinx and Hispanic communities to speak out in the media, learn about the issues, serve our unprotected wildlands, and participate in grassroots activism.

    If you or your group are passionate about wild Utah and want to learn more or get engaged, contact

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