SUWA Action Alerts Archives


  • March 28th, 2019

    Following public outcry and a formal protest from SUWA, this week the Utah Bureau of Land Management (BLM) deferred all of its proposed oil and gas leases in San Juan County from its March 2019 lease sale “due to additional environmental analysis required.”

    The proposed leases were on the doorstep of Bears Ears, Hovenweep, and Canyons of the Ancients national monuments.*

    Simply put, these leases would not have been deferred if not for SUWA’s tireless defense of every acre of BLM public land deserving of wilderness protection in Utah.

    Our defense of Utah’s redrock wilderness relies upon the support of our members. Please become a member of SUWA today.


    It’s the nature of environmental defense that this victory is short-lived—although deferred, the parcels will likely be back up for sale at the September 2019 lease sale.

    But SUWA will be there to fight those leases, too, and this decision by the BLM puts us in a strong position in our challenges to other BLM lease sales (from March and December 2018), because those lease sales relied on the same environmental analysis (surprise!). If it is insufficient now, then it was insufficient then.

    Not all of our work results in victories, of course, and most of our work never makes the news. But you can be assured that SUWA will never give up and never give an inch in our defense of the Redrock.

    Please become a member of SUWA today.

  • February 26th, 2019

    We’re delighted to tell you that the Emery County Public Land Management Act just passed the U.S. House of Representatives and now heads to the president’s desk for his signature. (Yes, he’s expected to sign.)

    Take a moment to appreciate just how historic this victory is.

    For more than twenty years, the Utah delegation has put forward lousy bills that would have sold the San Rafael Swell short. SUWA opposed all those bills. And now, after a year-long fight, what began again as terrible legislation will instead extend much-needed protection to some of Utah’s most beloved redrock landscapes—places like Muddy Creek and parts of Desolation and Labyrinth Canyons.

    Muddy Creek wilderness in the San Rafael Swell. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA

    This happened because of people like you. Your emails, phone calls, and contributions made the difference—showing our congressional allies and opponents alike that the American people care about protecting Utah wilderness.

    Thanks to you and our Utah Wilderness Coalition allies—the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council—we’ve made this legislation deserving of the places protected.

    The result? 663,000 acres of wilderness will now be protected in Emery County! (Click here to view our story map showing what the bill protects.)

    We’re grateful to our congressional champions, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA 47), who each challenged an earlier, flawed version of the bill—flaws that have now been largely addressed.

    These lands belong to all Americans, and wilderness bills like this one can only succeed if Utah politicians recognize the national significance of their protection.

    To be sure, there are still lands in Emery County and elsewhere deserving of protection, and we will continue to work every day to protect all of Utah’s magnificent redrock wilderness.

    But today, it’s time to celebrate.

    Thank you for being a critical part of the movement to protect Utah wilderness.

    If you live in Utah, please call Representative John Curtis’ office at 202-225-7751, and Sen. Mitt Romney at (202) 224-5251 and thank them for seeing this legislation through.

    If you live in California, please call Representative Lowenthal’s’ office at 202-225-7924 and thank him for his hard work to enact this legislation.

  • February 12th, 2019

    Are you sitting down?

    We can hardly believe we get to say this, but against great odds, Labyrinth Canyon, Muddy Creek, Desolation Canyon and other Utah wild lands may soon get permanent protection as wilderness!

    The Emery County Public Land Management Act just passed the Senate as part of a public lands package, which now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Muddy Creek proposed wilderness. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA

    You’ll recall that throughout last year, we were fighting the so-called “Not-so-Swell” Emery County bill. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative John Curtis (R-UT), simply did not go far enough in its protections for Utah’s fragile places and needed to be improved if it were to pass. With your help, we told them so. Repeatedly. AND IT WORKED.

    Late in the last Congress, with just about a week remaining in the session, we had a breakthrough. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), the champion of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act who was threatening to hold up the legislation, successfully negotiated significant wilderness additions to the Emery County bill, including additions for the Muddy Creek and Labyrinth Canyon regions. With these gains the bill protects about 663,000 acres of wilderness in Utah! The bill also designates about 60 miles of the Green River as Wild and Scenic, and facilitates a trade of state lands that are constantly under threat of development out of wilderness and recreation areas.

    As with any legislative compromise, we didn’t get everything we wanted. But SUWA held firm to our principles, and with our partners in the Utah Wilderness Coalition, we won the improvements needed to earn our support.

    All told, the bill protects a huge amount of habitat, helps buffer against climate change, and preserves some of Utah’s wildest places. We were able to negotiate this legislation with delegation members who have been traditionally opposed to wilderness, and with Donald Trump in the White House. That’s huge.

    Now that the bill has overwhelmingly passed the Senate in a package of lands bills, we need your help to get it through the House. Please contact your representative today and ask them to support the Emery County Public Land Management Act!

    This victory was a colossal team effort. We couldn’t have done it without support from SUWA members like you, the deep knowledge of our field staff, our stalwart congressional champions, and a whole lot of grit and resolve.

    It’s time to celebrate, and then help get this bill over the finish line!

    Contact your House representative today!

    Thank you for all you do!

    Click here to view our story map on the bill.

    Click here for a fact sheet and additional photographs.

  • December 21st, 2018

    The Winter Solstice has always been a time of celebration and reflection.

    Here at SUWA, some of our most meaningful moments have taken place in the redrock. Whether viewing ancient petroglyphs, floating muddy rivers with family and friends, or wandering solo in the canyons, one can’t help but be touched deeply by the beauty of the precious wilderness that belongs to us all.

    And because of the support of thousands of people like you, the canyons are still wild, peaceful, and stirring to the soul.

    Please, consider making a year-end donation to SUWA today.

    Snow Covered Fins, Proposed Behind-the-Rocks BLM Wilderness, Utah La Sal Mountains beyond. Photo (c) Tom Till.

    We at SUWA live to protect the redrock. You know this. We stand up to the greed and scare tactics of Utah’s politicians, and to President Trump’s “Energy Dominance” agenda. We challenge the federal agencies when they seek to lease lands that should be protected as wilderness to oil and gas companies, or when they clearcut pinyon and juniper forests to create more forage for cattle and big game species.

    Defending Utah wilderness is what we do — but we can’t do it without the support of people like you.

    Join thousands of others in protecting Utah wilderness by making a contribution to SUWA today.

    The end of the longest night heralds a shift to brighter days. With your support, we can ensure that those days include the same redrock country and opportunities for solitude we know today, for us and for generations to come.

    Thank you for your support, and Happy Solstice.

  • December 11th, 2018

    Relentless. That’s the word that best describes the assault on Utah’s public lands from the Trump administration and Utah politicians over the past 12 months.

    From President Trump’s illegal reduction of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments last December to the nearly seven-fold increase in oil and gas leasing we’ve seen in Utah under the Trump administration, the people who would tear up Utah’s magnificent wilderness for fossil fuel development haven’t once let up.

    But SUWA has been relentless in defending the Redrock throughout 2018. And that defense is only possible because of the support from people like you.

    Click here to make a year-end contribution to SUWA today!

    The results of the midterm elections brought a ray of hope. The Democratic victory in the House of Representatives means Trump’s Department of Interior will finally face much-needed oversight in 2019.

    But the fact is, we still have at least two more years of the Trump administration, and they aren’t going to let up in their efforts to roll back protections and continue implementing their drill-everywhere “Energy Dominance” agenda.

    And the state of Utah, emboldened by the president’s relentless assault on Utah’s public lands, isn’t letting up either.

    Help defend Utah’s redrock wilderness in 2019 and beyond by making a special contribution today.

    With two more years of the Trump administration ahead, 2019 will be a time of defense. We need your support to:

    • Defeat President Trump’s illegal monument proclamations in federal court and restore Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments.
    • Fight back against the State of Utah’s more than 20 lawsuits that seek to gain rights to approximately 14,000 “hoax highways.” The state brought these cases with the express goal of blocking protection of Utah’s wild lands and turning them over to extractive industries and off-road vehicles.  After years of depositions and behind-the-scenes lawyering, SUWA will be defending the land against the state of Utah and Kane County in the first “bellwether” case this winter.
    • Hold onto the land until it can be permanently protected as wilderness or national monuments. That means our day-to-day work of defending the land against proposals big and small, from challenging energy leasing and development to blocking “chaining” projects to halting off-road vehicle abuse.
    • Build the movement to protect the Redrock. SUWA’s life blood for political strength and financial support comes from members like you. Our membership ultimately gives us our core political strength for both legislative and executive branch work.

    To meet these big challenges, we’ve set a big goal — raising $250,000 online by the end of this month.

    Can you help us reach that goal by making a special tax-deductible year-end contribution today?

    Click here to help protect the Redrock in 2019 and beyond.

    SUWA will never rest in our defense of America’s redrock. But our work is only possible with the support of people like you.

    Thank you for standing with us to defend Utah wilderness.

    Karin Duncker
    Development Director