Grand Staircase-Escalante Archives


  • October 12th, 2017

    On Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee advanced H.R. 3990, a disgraceful bill that would essentially gut the Antiquities Act. The full committee mark-up also effectively killed a Democratic request for more transparency in Zinke’s monument review process.

    H.R. 3990, sponsored by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), would so severely limit a president’s power to designate new monuments that had it been in the original language of the law, Utah would not have four of its five national parks and seven of its eight national monuments today—places like Arches, Zion, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears. It would limit the size of new monuments to 85,000 acres and require approval from local and state lawmakers and governors. A president would still be able to designate a monument in an emergency situation, but the designation would expire within a year without congressional action.

    Monument sign at Cottonnwood Road, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Copyright Jeff Foott

    Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), lead sponsor of the House version of the Red Rock bill, called HR 3990 a “blatant attempt to dismantle the Antiquities Act.” He spoke of the direct threat this bill poses to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, and to all of Utah’s red rock country: “The stunning red rock canyons, protected by the Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments . . . all of these natural features would be threatened by this bill.”

    Bears Ears National Monument. Copyright Judith Zimmerman

    Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) noted: “There is something good about this bill, and that is that it points out that the president has no authority to unilaterally shrink or undesignate a national monument under current law. This admission is useful because the president may soon try to invoke that nonexistent power to the lasting detriment of our country.”

    The bill passed out of committee on party lines, 23-17.

    The champions standing up for the Antiquites Act and our public lands who voted against this terrible bill were:
    Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-CNMI), Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Rep. Donald Beyer (D-VA), Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA), Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA), Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD), Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), and Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA)

    If your member of Congress is listed above, please call them and thank them at 202-224-3121

    Conversely, the members of Congress who voted to gut the Antiquities Act are:
    Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM), Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep Scott Tipton (R-CO), Rep Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA), Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), Rep. Amata Radewagen (R-AS), Rep. Darin LaHood (R- IL), Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL), Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI), Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR), and Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT)

    If your member of Congress is listed above, please call them and register your disappointment at 202-224-3121.

    After the vote on HR 3990, H. Res. 555 was submitted to the mark up. H. Res. 555, introduced by Rep. Grijalva (D-AZ) and 25 other House Democrats, was an attempt to force a formal disclosure of Secretary Zinke’s monument review and gain transparency on the process of its creation. This resolution of inquiry, introduced a week ago, is likely what prompted the Antiquities Act overhaul to be unveiled.

    The resolution was passed out of committee, but was reported “unfavorably,” effectively killing the measure.

    This bill is a disaster, but just because it passed out of the committee doesn’t mean it will become law. To help us make sure it doesn’t, please call your representatives and let them know you oppose H.R. 3990 and any similar effort to gut the Antiquities Act! 202-224-3121

  • August 31st, 2017

    Labor Day commemorates the social and economic achievements of American workers. This century-old tradition began in the spirit of protest from laborers fighting for fair wages, better working conditions, and a 40-hour work week.

    These days we get to celebrate this tradition in the spirit of leisure, often by spending time in public lands across America on Labor Day weekend.

    SUWA supporters and members nationally have worked for decades to protect America’s redrock public lands. Amid the ongoing attack on national monuments, you’ve taken a stand. You’ve showed up at rallies, met with your legislators, called public officials, written to local newspapers, and volunteered countless hours to conserve public land in Utah for all.

    This hard work to save our national monuments was largely ignored by Interior Secretary Zinke in his recent report to the president recommending that Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments be reduced. So this Labor Day weekend, let’s make ourselves visible. If your plans take you to public lands anywhere, capture photos of your adventures and let the pictures do the talking.

    Demonstrate your support for the irreplaceable treasures protected in Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments by posting your weekend images on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If Interior Secretary Zinke and the Trump administration can’t hear the nation’s call for the complete preservation of national monuments in Utah, this is a proactive way to show them.

    Join us in the national movement to preserve monuments in Utah by sharing your public land images on social media, commenting on your support for public lands in Utah, and using the hashtags:

    #SaveGrandStaircase | #ProtectBearsEars | #MonumentsForAll
    #ProtectWildUtah | #LaborDay

    Tag SUWA, Interior Secretary Zinke, and the President of the United States to assure you are seen:

    • @protectwildutah, @usinterior, @realdonaldtrump on Instagram
    • @SouthernUtahWildernessAlliance, @SecretaryRyanZinke, @POTUS on Facebook
    • @SouthernUTWild, @SecretaryZinke, @POTUS on Twitter

    Please wordsmith your own post using the hashtags and profile tags above.

    We wish you fun adventures on this holiday weekend, and thank you for your active support of wild Utah.

     

  • August 24th, 2017

    Today, 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

    Contact:
    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.

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