Press Releases Archives - Page 5 of 16


  • May 31st, 2017

    Longstanding litigation over six BLM-Utah land use plans and travel management plans brought to a close

    An order issued today by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit clears the way for BLM-Utah to begin implementing a comprehensive settlement agreement that will result in the completion of 13 new off-highway vehicle travel management plans over the next 8 years across eastern and southern Utah.  The settlement agreement marks the end to longstanding litigation filed in 2008 by a coalition of conservation groups which challenged six land use plans and travel plans that were completed at the end of the George W. Bush administration and designated a spider web of approximately 20,000 miles of routes where off-highway vehicles could drive on federal public lands.  The settlement requires BLM to revisit these decisions across more than 6 million acres of federal public lands, minimize the impacts of off-highway vehicles on cultural resources and wilderness landscapes that provide opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation and monitor for illegal use.

    BLM-Utah will also consider the designation of three areas of critical environmental concern (ACECs) and update and prepare air quality-related reports and studies that will inform future BLM decisions regarding oil and gas development.  The settlement agreement can be viewed here.

    The settlement agreement was reviewed and approved by a federal district court judge in Salt Lake City.  In his order approving the settlement agreement, senior district court Judge Dale A. Kimball stated that the settlement “is a fair and lawful resolution of years of litigation” and is consistent with applicable federal law.

    The BLM-Utah plans at issue guide land management decisions across more than 10 million acres of federal public lands in eastern and southern Utah, including some of the nation’s most remarkable red rock wilderness landscapes.

    • “With the settlement agreement in place we will work to make sure that BLM-Utah’s new travel management plans fully account for and protect Utah’s unique cultural resources and red rock wilderness lands,” said Stephen Bloch, Legal Director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. “The negotiations leading up to the settlement agreement were hard fought and contentious.  In the end, we came to a place that provided sufficient certainty to the conservation groups that BLM would take seriously its responsibilities to minimize the impacts of off-road vehicle use on all public resources, including wilderness.”
    • “This proposed settlement is good news for Utah’s iconic public lands, including the lands surrounding Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and Dinosaur National Monument,” said Robin Cooley, Earthjustice Attorney representing the conservation groups. “BLM must take a fresh look at where it will allow off-highway vehicles to drive, this time with an eye towards protecting the very things that make Utah’s redrock country so special–its wildness, opportunities for solitude, and irreplaceable archaeological sites.”
    • “These amazing lands deserve thoughtful management for uses other than motorized recreation and oil and gas development, which are prioritized in the current plans,” said Nada Culver, Director the BLM Action Center at The Wilderness Society. “We hope to get to work on updated plans and management decisions once the settlement is approved.”

    Photos of proposed wilderness areas in new “travel management areas” contemplated by the settlement agreement can be found here.

    The following conservation groups are plaintiffs to the litigation and parties to the settlement agreement: Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, The Wilderness Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Trust, National Parks Conservation Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Rocky Mountain Wild, Great Old Broads for Wilderness and Utah Rivers Council.

    The parties to the settlement agreement include the conservation groups, the off-highway vehicle group-intervenors, and the Bureau of Land Management.  Several intervenors, including the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration and four oil and gas companies, do not oppose the agreement.

    The conservation groups were represented by attorneys from Earthjustice, SUWA, NRDC, and the law firm of Waltzer, Wiygul and Garside.

  • April 26th, 2017

    Action comes just as Trump orders a review of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

    For immediate release
    April 26, 2017

    Contact: Jen Ujifusa, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, 202.266.0473

    Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)

    Today Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced S. 948, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, a bill that would protect as wilderness 9.2 million acres of Utah’s spectacular federal public lands. He was joined by 17 cosponsors from 13 states, underscoring the importance of these remaining wild landscapes to the American people.

    America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act would permanently protect special places managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Utah like Labyrinth Canyon, the Dirty Devil, the San Rafael Swell, and the West Desert, ensuring some of the last, best remaining wildlands in the lower 48 states remain wild for future generations of Americans who own these lands.

    The other cosponsors are: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO),  Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)‎.

    The bill is the companion to H.R. 2044, sponsored by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), which currently has 30 cosponsors in the House.

    The bill introduction could not be better timed, and the lands involved could not be under greater threat. Today, President Trump also issued an Executive Order that would undermine a generation of National Monuments going back to 1996, including Utah’s own Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, as well as dozens of other monuments designated in the Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama administrations.

    The executive order calls for an agency review of every monument since 1996 that exceeds 100,000 acres, or any monument the agency deems as having “inadequate public outreach,” thereby putting in jeopardy some of America’s most beloved lands and waters. It is the first time any president has launched such an extreme attack on national monuments.

    “Senator Durbin understands what this administration does not: that these lands are one of our country’s most precious and vulnerable treasures, and the most reasonable course of action is to ensure their permanent protection,” said Scott Groene, Executive Director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. “Utah’s wilderness promotes resiliency against climate change for humans and wildlife alike, provides a place for families to find rest and solitude, and represents the highest values of the American people. We are grateful to Senator Durbin and the senators who joined him for recognizing the true value of these lands and for standing up for them.”

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  • April 25th, 2017

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    April 25, 2017

    Scott Groene, Executive Director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, released the following statement regarding the Executive Order that President Trump is expected to sign tomorrow directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to conduct a “review” of all national monuments over 100,000 acres that were created in the last 21 years:

    “This executive order by President Trump is the opening salvo in an unprecedented attack on America’s federal public lands, and Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments are directly and deliberately in the crosshairs.

    “At Bears Ears, the President has asked Secretary Zinke to manufacture the political cover for his administration to break the government’s promise to Native American Tribes to protect and preserve their ancestral homeland. At Grand Staircase, the President is seeking to reward his Big Coal backers at the expense of one of the nation’s wildest and most dramatic redrock landscapes.

    “This order should alarm every American who cares about our country’s cultural and natural heritage.”

    Bears Ears National Monument. Copyright Tim Peterson

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  • April 12th, 2017

    For Immediate Release
    April 12, 2017

    SALT LAKE CITY – Mountain West Hard Cider today announced the launch of its new Desolation Prickly Pear Hard Cider in honor of Southern Utah’s iconic Desolation Canyon, available beginning this Saturday, April 15.

    In an effort to help protect and defend the Utah’s red rock wilderness, Mountain West will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bottle of Desolation Cider to The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA).  Desolation Canyon is well known for its whitewater rapids, spanning 83 remote miles of Utah’s Green River, and its spectacular public wild lands.

    “Given the near constant controversy over public lands in Utah, the importance of protecting and preserving those resources is more crucial than ever,” said Jennifer Carleton, co-owner of Mountain West Hard Cider. “SUWA’s conservation efforts impact not only those who call Utah home, but also the over 4 million visitors to Utah’s great wilderness areas. We wanted to do our part to support the very canyons that inspire our ciders.”

    “We are thrilled to be involved with Desolation and Mountain West Hard Cider”, said Karin Duncker, associate director of SUWA. “Desolation Canyon encompasses some of the most beautiful and pristine wild public lands in southern Utah. The support of Jennifer, Jeff, and the great Mountain West Hard Cider team helps us bring our message to an even broader audience. Plus, I’ve tasted it, and Desolation is terrific!”

    The addition of prickly pear fruit to the cider during fermentation imparts subtle flavors of melon and a delicate citrus finish, along with giving the 6.9 percent ABV cider its slight rosy color. Prickly pear juice, also known as the ‘cactus apple’ was chosen for Desolation Hard Cider because the prickly pear plant is common to deserts throughout the southwest.

    Desolation joins Ruby, 7-Mile and Cottonwood, rounding out the four ciders that will be available from Mountain West Hard Cider year-round. You can find Desolation Hard Cider at Mountain West Hard Cider’s tasting room and production facility located at 425 N 400 W, in Salt Lake City, and at select bars and restaurants throughout the state.

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    ABOUT MOUNTAIN WEST HARD CIDER
    Mountain West Hard Cider Company, proud member of Utah’s Own, sources only the finest local ingredients from the Mountain West region to craft every day, seasonal, and artisan hard apple ciders. Mountain West is owned and operated by Jennifer and Jeff Carleton.  They share a passion for the community, locally-owned business, and obviously: good times with good friends. Relying on award-winning years of experience from their cider maker, Joel Goodwillie, the three of them are ready to show people that The West isn’t just for beer anymore. Mountain West Hard Cider is proud to call Utah home.

    ABOUT SOUTHERN UTAH WILDERNESS ALLIANCE
    The mission of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance 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.  For more information, visit www.suwa.org.

  • January 13th, 2017

    SUWA, The Wilderness Society, Earthjustice, and a coalition of eight other conservation groups, along with the Bureau of Land Management and off-highway vehicle groups have taken an important step to settle longstanding litigation filed in 2008 by the conservation groups which challenged six land use plans and off-highway vehicle travel plans completed at the end of the George W. Bush administration.

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