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We need your eyes and ears.
President Trump’s orders to rescind Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments and replace them with dramatically smaller monuments has stripped protections for over two million acres of land.
We believe Trump’s orders are illegal and have filed two lawsuits challenging his drastic reductions of both monuments.
Until the courts rule on these lawsuits, SUWA will work to defend all lands within the original Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments from any harm.
You can help by participating in Monument Watch.
When you visit lands within the original, legal boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-National Monuments, watch for any action that may disturb, or is disturbing, the natural setting or archaeological sites. If you live in southern Utah, listen and watch for any evidence that such an action is being planned or initiated.
If you see or hear anything suspicious, file a report immediately with SUWA.
With your help, we will defend Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments from harm.
Thank you for helping to watch our national monuments!
In response to the announcement today by the Bureau of Land Management that it will begin to prepare Monument Management plans for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, which were illegally modified by President Trump on December 4, 2017, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance executive director Scott Groene issued the following statement:
“It is absurd for Secretary Zinke to double down on President Trump’s illegal proclamations by instructing the Bureau of Land Management to rush forward writing management plans for monuments that will inevitably be overturned by the courts. Trump’s proclamations aren’t worth the paper they are printed on, and this effort is a waste of time and tax-payer money. BLM should remain focused on the task at hand: protecting the remarkable cultural and natural resources in Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.”
As you know, one month ago President Trump issued an unlawful order to repeal the Bears Ears National Monument and replace it with two smaller monuments—leaving nearly 80% of the original monument unprotected.
That same day, Representative John Curtis (UT-03) introduced H.R. 4532, the “Shash Jaa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument Act” in the U.S. House of Representatives. This terrible bill would ratify Trump’s illegal repeal of the Bears Ears—and make his unlawful order permanent.
Rep. Curtis’s bill seeks to create a management scheme for the monument that would be dictated by parochial local interests—effectively taking all power away from the Bears Ears Commission of Tribes.
This horrendous legislation is being given a hearing on Tuesday, January 9th, and may move quickly through committee and onto the House floor. If it passes both chambers and becomes law, it will be even worse for Bears Ears than Trump’s executive order last month.
Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen. Contact your representative and senators today!
Federal Public Lands Targeted for Oil and Gas Development near Bears Ears, Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients National Monuments, and Culturally Significant Areas in Southeast Utah
For Immediate Release
January 3, 2018
Stephen Bloch, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, 801.428.3981
Landon Newell, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, 801.428.3991
Salt Lake City (Jan. 3): Yesterday, a coalition of conservation groups led by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) formally protested the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) decision to auction off more than 51,400 acres of remarkable Federal public lands in southeast Utah for oil and gas leasing and development. Included in BLM’s lease sale, scheduled for March 20, 2018, are public lands near Bears Ears, Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients National Monuments, as well as in the culturally rich Alkali Ridge Area of Critical Environmental Concern and along the Green and San Juan rivers.
“BLM’s short-sighted decision threatens Utah’s red rock wilderness as well as significant cultural and archaeological resources,” said Landon Newell, staff attorney with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. “BLM’s ‘lease everything, lease everywhere’ approach to oil and gas development needlessly threatens iconic red rock landscapes and irreplaceable cultural history in the ill-conceived push for ‘energy dominance.”
“We won’t sit idly by while President Trump and Interior Secretary Zinke auction off America’s cultural and public lands heritage to the oil and gas industry,” said Stephen Bloch, legal director with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. “This lease sale flies in the face of historic preservation and environmental laws that Congress put in place to make sure that BLM thinks before it acts; not ‘lease first, and think later.’”
In addition to offering leases near Bears Ears, Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients National Monuments, BLM plans to auction off culturally and ecologically significant public lands throughout southeastern Utah including:
“It is shameful that the Trump administration is attempting to sell off our cherished wild places for the benefit of the oil and gas industry,” said Lena Moffitt, Senior Director of the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America Campaign. “We will continue to pursue all legal options to protect America’s public lands from the greed and recklessness of this administration.”
“Through lease sales like this one, Interior Secretary Zinke is handing the reins of our public lands to his pals in the oil and gas industry, despite their proximity to iconic national parks, monuments, and archeologically-rich canyons,” said Marc Thomas, with the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club. “This unfortunate giveaway is taking place even though the industry has already stockpiled more than 1.7 million acres of leased, but unused, BLM-managed lands in Utah. This is not the sort of stewardship Americans, including those of us living in southeast Utah, want for our special places.”
The following groups protested the Canyon Country District’s environmental assessment for the March 2018 lease sale: Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Colorado (protested two lease parcels near Colorado border), Green River Action Network, Living Rivers, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and The Wilderness Society (protest available here). BLM’s environmental assessment is available here.
The following groups protested the Canyon Country District’s Determination of NEPA Adequacy for the March 2018 lease sale: Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Green River Action Network, Living Rivers, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club (protest available here). BLM’s Determination of NEPA Adequacy is available here.
At the end of BLM’s 2016 fiscal year, there were approximately 2.9 million acres of federal public land in Utah leased for oil and gas development (here—follow hyperlink for Table 2 Acreage in Effect). At the same time, oil and gas companies had less than 1.2 million acres of those leased lands in production—less than forty percent of the total land under lease (here – follow hyperlink for Table 6 Acreage of Producing Leases). This disparity makes clear that there is no need to sacrifice any of these remarkable areas for oil and gas leasing and development.
The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), Utah’s largest conservation organization, has an immediate opening in its Salt Lake City office for a staff attorney.
Interested applicants should send the following materials via e-mail to email@example.com by January 31, 2018: cover letter, resume, 5-10 page writing sample of original work, and 3 references.
The staff attorney is a litigation position that will focus on national monument defense, energy development, Quiet Title Act/R.S. 2477, off-road vehicles, and vegetation management. The staff attorney works closely with other program staff and is supervised by the legal director. Job duties will include litigating a diverse existing docket of cases, developing cases and campaigns, media outreach, and engagement with SUWA members and the public.
SUWA offers a competitive salary—based on experience—and excellent benefits (health, dental, retirement plan, sabbatical).
SUWA’s mission is 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 hard-hitting advocacy for wilderness preservation.
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.