Press Releases


  • August 24th, 2022

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Scott Groene, Executive Director, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, 801-712-5034, scott@suwa.org 

    Moab, UT (August 24, 2022) – Today, the State of Utah, along with Garfield and Kane Counties, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court challenging President Biden’s lawful use of the Antiquities Act to restore the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments last October.

    In response to the lawsuit, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) executive director Scott Groene issued the following statement:

    “Once again, Utah’s political leaders are running roughshod over those who live closest to Utah’s national monuments — especially the Tribes that have lived here since time immemorial. This lawsuit further ignores the local elected officials in Grand and San Juan Counties, where Bears Ears is located, and community leaders in the towns closest to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, who have registered their support for President Biden’s lawful restoration of the original monument boundaries.

    “From Governor Cox on down, the continued anti-environment agenda of Utah politicians makes the Utah political delegation the most hostile to America’s public lands, of any state.  At a time when climate change is creating drought and extreme weather events in Utah, Utah’s politicians are exacerbating the harm by trying to upend the very public land protections that play a critical role in mitigating the effects of climate change.  Utah residents deserve better.”

    Additional Resources

    Link to Garfield County et al. lawsuit.



  • June 30th, 2022

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Steve Bloch, Legal Director,  801-859-1552, steve@suwa.org 

    Salt Lake City, UT  (June 30, 2022) – In response to the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision on West Virginia vs. EPA, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) legal director Steve Bloch issued the following statement:

    “We’re disappointed in today’s US Supreme Court decision which goes to extraordinary lengths to limit the federal government’s ability to tackle the ongoing climate crisis.

    “The Court’s radical and activist agenda poses a real threat to federal agency oversight and management of public lands, air and waters that will have real implications in Utah.”

    ###



  • October 8th, 2021

    MEDIA ADVISORY FOR FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8 at 11:30 AM MT

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

    Media Contact: Steve Bloch, Legal Director, 801-859-1552, steve@suwa.org                 

    Event Contact: Dave Pachecho, Utah Organizer, 801-949-3099, dave@suwa.org

    WHO:   Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

    WHAT: “Utahns Support Monuments Restoration” Rally and Watch Party

    When: Friday, Oct. 8, 2021 at 11:30am MT

    Where: Radisson Hotel Ballroom (215 W South Temple)

    More details: The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) is hosting a short watch party and rally at the Radisson Hotel Ballroom (215 West South Temple) to view the national monument proclamation ceremony taking place at the same time in Washington, DC. Parking is free in the Radisson garage. Enter from the South Temple eastbound lane.

    SUWA Legal Director Steve Bloch will be available for TV, radio, and print interviews. 

    **This is an indoor event. Masks and social distancing are encouraged for all attendees regardless of vaccination status.**

    # # #

     

  • October 6th, 2021

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Steve Bloch, Legal Director, (801) 428-3981, steve@suwa.org

    Moab, UT (October 6, 2021) – In response to the Council on Environmental Quality’s draft proposal released this morning to update the National Environmental Policy Act’s (NEPA) implementing regulations, which would restore many long-standing policies altered by the Trump administration, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) Legal Director Steve Bloch issued the following statement:

    “This is an important first step to bringing common sense back to federal decision making that affects so many aspects of life in Utah. From analyzing the impacts to disadvantaged communities from uranium waste contamination to being clear eyed about the devastating consequences leasing, development and burning fossil fuels has to the climate, the Biden administration is rightly restoring transparency and science-based agency decision-making. Bottom line, these changes are necessary to ensure federal agencies are accurately disclosing all of the environmental and public health impacts of their decisions.”

    Additional Resources:

    Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) – Proposed Action for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Revisions

  • September 21st, 2021

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Neal Clark, Wildlands Director, 435-259-7090, neal@suwa.org
    Judi Brawer, Wildlands Attorney, 435-355-0716, judi@suwa.org

    Moab, UT (September 21, 2021) – More than a dozen conservation organizations based in Utah and the surrounding region sent a letter today to the Bureau of Land Management (“the Bureau”), asking the agency to create a new working group to develop proactive management practices to address the rapid growth of non-motorized recreation and visitation on federal public lands in Utah.

    The letter follows a new report by Utah State University professor and recreation ecologist Dr. Christopher Monz, Outdoor Recreation and Ecological Disturbance, A Review of Research and Implications for Management of the Colorado Plateau Province. The report synthesizes more than 60 years of published scientific research to identify the lasting environmental impacts of rapidly expanding non-motorized recreation such as hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, camping, hunting, and horseback riding on the Colorado Plateau.

    The report highlights the need for a proactive approach to planning for recreation growth on the Colorado Plateau, as opposed to the Bureau’s current reactive strategy that leads to the proliferation of damaged areas. “Activity types and behaviors that result in expanding recreation use from concentrated, high-use areas to new, less visited and undisturbed locations are perhaps the most serious consideration [for public land managers],” writes Dr. Monz. “Future management of public lands will have to be proactive in order to accommodate a likely continued increase in demand while also protecting the natural landscapes visitors seek.”

    The letter to the Bureau calling for the formation of a new recreation working group was signed by Colorado Wildlands Project, Conserve Southwest Utah, Grand Canyon Trust, Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, Latino Outdoors Salt Lake City, Living Rivers/Colorado Riverkeeper, Mormons for Environmental Stewardship, Utah Rock Art Research Association, Utah Chapter Sierra Club, Wasatch Mountain Club, Western Wildlife Conservancy, Wilderness Workshop, Wildlands Network, and Yellowstone to Uintas Connection.

    “The exploding growth of non-motorized recreation and visitation to Utah’s public lands is apparent to anyone who spends time outdoors. Urgent action is needed to ensure that public lands recreation is sustainable over the long-term for wildlife, wilderness, cultural and natural resources, and quality visitor experiences,” said Neal Clark, Wildlands Director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), which commissioned the report. “The Utah Bureau of Land Management is in dire need of a new vision for non-motorized recreation and visitation management. To that end, we are calling on the Bureau to establish a working group of experts to help develop science-based management strategies that proactively address this growing problem. Individual recreationists and conservation organizations cannot solve this problem alone; we need leadership from land managers to address this clearly unsustainable situation on our public lands.”

    “The BLM’s current strategy is one of pushing recreation use further and further into remote, backcountry areas. But the science is clear: to address the impacts of climate change and the biodiversity crisis, these areas must be protected as safe havens for wildlife and intact ecosystems, and the BLM must manage recreation accordingly,” said Jason Christensen, Director of Yellowstone to Uintas Connection.

    “Wildlife face a growing number of threats, from the impacts of drought to expanding human communities,” said Michael Dax, Western Program Director for Wildlands Network. “It’s important that people are able to reconnect with the natural world through recreation, but we must do so in a way that protects the resources, such as wildlife, that we want to enjoy. Proactively managing non-motorized recreation to concentrate and minimize its impacts to wildlife will help ensure that wildlife populations continue to thrive in the future.”

    Based on the findings from the new scientific report, the letter from conservation organizations calls on the Bureau to establish a non-motorized recreation and visitation working group to address the significant ecological challenges facing public lands in Utah as a result of increased use. The working group should include representatives from Native American tribes, historically underrepresented community organizations, quiet recreation organizations, wilderness and public land conservation organizations, and scientific and academic experts in the fields of recreation management, biology, wildlife, soils, and cultural resources.

    Additional Resources:

    Full Report: Outdoor Recreation and Ecological Disturbance, A Review of Research and Implications for Management of the Colorado Plateau Province by Dr. Christopher Monz

    SUWA Recreation Letter to BLM

    SUWA: Recreation Management on the Colorado Plateau

    Sign the petition: ask the Utah Bureau of Land Management to create a working group for non-motorized recreation and visitation