Stay informed about Utah wilderness
Supporters and wilderness advocates like you play a critical role in the protection of Utah’s spectacular wild places.
Stay informed about Utah wilderness
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*Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition Co-Chair
Eric Descheenie at the National Press Club.
Last week, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition traveled to Washington, D.C., to deliver their proposal to President Obama to protect 1.9 million acres of public land in southern Utah as a collaboratively managed national monument. A copy of the proposal was also delivered to Representatives Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz of Utah.
“We are not stakeholders here,” said Eric Descheenie, Coalition Co-Chair and Advisor to the President of the Navajo Nation, at a press conference held at the National Press Club. “We are relatives to these lands, and we have something to say.”
The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition is a partnership of five Tribes: Ute Mountain Ute, Uintah Ouray Ute, Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo. With a new resolution of support from the National Congress of American Indians, nearly 300 Tribes stand behind the effort to Protect Bears Ears.
SUWA fully supports the proposal to create a Bears Ears National Monument. We’re excited to see Tribes lead this effort to protect lands that SUWA has worked for decades to defend. (One of our very first campaigns, more than 30 years ago, was to prevent the BLM from chaining just below the Bears Ears themselves.)
Click here to sign the Inter-Tribal Coalition’s petition to protect Bears Ears.
At the press conference, tribal leaders emphasized that their proposal is about healing and bringing people together.
“This is a humanistic endeavor for healing not just for Native people, but all people,” said Eric Descheenie.
Thank you for all that you do.
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
Anyone who has visited the Island in the Sky region of Canyonlands National Park or Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab over the past few years has no doubt noticed the gradual spread of industrial development at the entrance to the parks in an area known as Big Flat. What began as a modest expansion of decades-old drill pads has now taken off at a breakneck pace. The highly visible network of pump jacks, roads, and pipelines stands out as you drive along state highway 313 – a route designated by Utah as a “scenic” byway.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there.
Fidelity Exploration and Production Company, a Denver based oil and gas operator, is proposing to expand this industrial web south into Hatch Point near the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. Proposed for wilderness designation and identified by the BLM itself as possessing wilderness character, Hatch Point features iconic redrock formations, including towering Wingate cliffs, buttes, and rock pillars, and some of the nation’s most brilliant night skies.
The proposed expansion would include drilling up to 21 oil and gas wells, “upgrading” more than 19 miles of existing two-track routes into 14-foot-wide “resource roads,” and constructing several new roads. On top of all this, Fidelity is proposing to flare natural gas from each well rather than collect and transport the gas to produce energy. The flared gas will be visible from within Canyonlands National Park and will further degrade air quality in the region.
The BLM has improperly – and unlawfully – allowed Fidelity to develop the Big Flat region in a piecemeal fashion, one phase of development at a time, and is poised to do the same with Hatch Point. It’s time for the BLM to consider the entire scope of Fidelity’s activities in a single environmental impact statement before allowing the company to completely surround the eastern edge of Canyonlands National Park with its industrial web of development.
In August, the BLM’s Canyon Country District Office released the long-awaited Moab Master Leasing Plan for public review and comment. When finalized, this plan will govern the scope, pace and nature of oil, gas and potash development on more than 750,000 acres of public lands in the stunning Moab area.
While the draft “Moab MLP” is a good first step to protect places like Fisher Towers, Porcupine Rim, and Goldbar Canyon from being overrun by the sight and sound of pump jacks and drill rigs, more work remains to be done.
Under the BLM’s current “preferred alternative,” Labyrinth Canyon and its many stunning side canyons would be targeted for leasing and drilling. The agency would also give potash development and its staggering water use the green light – with over 42,000 acres of public lands prioritized as “potash processing facility areas,” including sites near Labyrinth Canyon and at the entrance to the Needles and Anticline Overlook roads.
The BLM needs to hear from you that you value the greater Moab area’s dark night skies, clean air, and wild open spaces.
This Monday, March 16th, the Grand County Council in Moab, Utah is going to be putting the finishing touches on its recommendations to Representative Rob Bishop as part of the “Public Lands Initiative” bill.
What they decide is going to have a direct impact on what Moab is like in the years to come.
The Grand County Council needs to hear directly from people like you who love and visit Moab. Tell them that Moab — and Labyrinth Canyon in particular — needs true wilderness protection and that quiet places need to be protected now and for future generations.
Here’s what the Grand County Council should do on Monday:
Please, take just a moment to email the entire Council at email@example.com.
The ORV lobby is already bombarding the Council with emails from around the region. The Council needs to hear from visitors like you that they need to create some balance by closing routes and protecting the quiet areas of Moab!
When it comes to your experience in Grand County and the Moab area, this may be the most important email you ever write. Please, take just a minute to email the council today.
Thank you for taking action.