Join our email list to stay informed about Utah wilderness.
Supporters and wilderness advocates like you play a critical role in the protection of Utah’s spectacular wild places.
Join our email list to stay informed about Utah wilderness.
Donations of $35 or more automatically include a year’s membership in SUWA.
If you are within six weeks of your annual renewal date or if your membership has lapsed, any gift you make of $35 or more will be processed as a membership renewal.
More donation options
*Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
This coming Monday, July 10, is the final day for you to tell Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that he and President Trump need to leave Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments intact.
Click here to submit your comment to the Department of Interior today.
On June 12th, Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke issued an interim report recommending that Bears Ears National Monument be significantly reduced in size—a move that simultaneously dishonored Native American Tribes and ignored the input of hundreds of thousands of American citizens.
Meanwhile, Secretary Zinke has invited local counties to submit revised boundaries for Grand Staircase-Escalante—a well established monument celebrated for revitalizing local communities and yielding stunning paleontological discoveries.
With both monuments under siege, a strong record of public support is essential. If you haven’t made your voice heard yet, now is the time. Tell Secretary Zinke to leave Utah’s monuments alone!
Your comments are urgently needed. Please take action today.
Our e-newsletter with the latest on redrock wilderness news and events.
Acting in lockstep with the Trump administration’s relentless onslaught against federal public lands, the BLM is proposing to offer at the agency’s December 2017 oil and gas lease sale 79 parcels for leasing and development on approximately 100,000 acres of federal public lands in eastern and central Utah. Included in this list are parcels along the western edge of the San Rafael Swell and immediately adjacent to Dinosaur National Monument.
Leasing in the San Rafael Swell
For the third time in five years, the BLM is proposing to offer leases in the Molen Reef region of the western San Rafael Swell—an area with high cultural and archaeological density and outstanding recreational opportunities. The BLM’s initial decision to offer these leases in 2013 drew immediate and widespread criticism, including a large public protest in front of the agency’s state headquarters in Salt Lake City. Ultimately, the agency determined that it did not have enough information regarding cultural and archaeological resources to justify leasing the area for oil and gas development. In 2015, the BLM once again deferred leasing in the Molen Reef region, citing the continuing need to gather more cultural and archaeological resource information.
To date, the agency has still not completed those cultural resource inventories. In fact, the BLM admits it has surveyed at most only 2.9 percent of the proposed parcels and thus is in no stronger a position to justify leasing now than it was in 2013. The agency’s leasing flip-flop is a disservice to this remarkable wilderness-caliber landscape and its thousands of known—and yet to be discovered—cultural resources.
Leasing on the Doorstep of Dinosaur National Monument
In a return to the Bush administration’s scorched earth approach to oil and gas leasing in the Uinta Basin, the BLM is also proposing to offer leases immediately adjacent to Dinosaur National Monument. This ill-advised proposal would green-light oil and gas development right next to the monument, including along the primary access route travelled by thousands of visitors annually. In fact, one of the parcels proposed for sale was previously offered at BLM’s infamous December 2008 oil and gas lease sale and later withdrawn from sale by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar after a successful lawsuit by SUWA and others blocked its issuance.
In a letter to the BLM, the National Park Service has objected to the leasing proposal, citing the adverse impacts to air quality, viewsheds, dark night skies, water quality, and natural soundscapes.
The BLM is currently accepting public comments on its oil and gas leasing proposal. With your help we were able to fight off earlier attempts to auction off public lands in these areas to private industrial development—and we will do so again. Our public lands deserve better than this. Please make your voice heard by submitting comments today.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s interim report on the fate of Bears Ears National Monument was released yesterday—and it isn’t good.
As expected, Zinke recommends that President Trump dramatically shrink the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument—though he doesn’t say specifically by how much, or where. Instead, he punted the details of how he’ll recommend Trump chop up the monument to his final report, due in August.
The fact is, the president doesn’t have the authority to reduce the monument. Any attempt by Trump to reduce Bears Ears would immediately wind up in court.
But there’s still time to defend Bears Ears. And now that Zinke has made his intentions clear, your voice is more important than ever.
Despite virtually ignoring previous public comments which favored keeping Bears Ears intact by a 9-1 margin, Secretary Zinke has extended the comment period for Bears Ears. Even if you’ve commented before, now is your chance to tell Zinke what you think of his plan to drastically reduce Bears Ears National Monument.
Remind Secretary Zinke that:
• The President doesn’t have the authority to modify the monument’s boundaries. Only Congress can do that.
• Bears Ears National Monument was a significant achievement for the historic coalition of Tribes that came together to advocate for its protection.
• It is the first national monument to include traditional knowledge as an object worthy of protection in the monument proclamation. And every inch of Bears Ears is necessary to preserve the more than 100,000 archaeological sites therein.
• It is a remarkable wilderness landscape. Beyond the monument’s namesake twin buttes are world-renowned wilderness treasures like White Canyon, Indian Creek, and Comb Ridge. Myriad plant and animal species thrive in its varied habitats. And you’d be hard pressed to find the solitude provided by these areas elsewhere in the lower 48.
Secretary Zinke tried to mask the brutality of his recommendation by calling on Congress to make parts of Bears Ears a National Conservation Area and to give Tribes co-management of whatever crumbs remain of the monument after Trump dices it up. But that’s not just kicking the can down the road—that’s kicking it into the abyss. Congress has had 111 years to protect Bears Ears, and it has completely failed to do so.
Thank you for taking action.
You stood up in defense of Bears Ears National Monument. Now we need you to do the same for Grand Staircase-Escalante.
Over the last few weeks, you helped deluge the Department of Interior with more than 685,000 comments in support of Bears Ears. Thank you to everyone who took action! This extraordinary show of support would not be possible without your individual action.
The outrageously short 15 day comment period for Bears Ears has now closed.
But the Department of Interior is still accepting comments on the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, as well as 25 additional national monuments around the country.
Even if you mentioned Grand Staircase-Escalante when you wrote earlier on Bears Ears, please write again. This will help ensure your comment on Grand Staircase-Escalante is counted.
Your comments are desperately needed! The Trump administration appears serious about eviscerating Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument. The Utah delegation is pressing the president to carve out a huge chunk of the 1.7 million acre monument for potential coal mining. And Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke seems to be listening! His visit to the monument in May focused on a driving tour to a coal seam!
It is important that your comments be in your own words. The Department of Interior will count them individually that way. What is most useful is your own statement about why Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is special to you and why ALL OF IT deserves to be protected. It’s fine if you keep it simple and from the heart.
To help you gather your thoughts, here are a few points of information (you can also click here to view our story map):
• Grand Staircase-Escalante was designated in 1996. Since then, it has come to be known as the “Science Monument”—yielding several new species of dinosaur and other paleontological finds and providing habitat for 650 bee species, many that are endemic to the area.
• Grand Staircase-Escalante has incredible camping, hiking and other recreational opportunities. Places like Calf Creek, Peekaboo and Spooky Canyon, Coyote Gulch, and the Hole in the Rock Road are known the world over. If you have your own favorites, be sure to mention them!
• Polling shows more than half of Utahns want Grand Staircase-Escalante left alone. That’s added to the more than 80 percent of Westerners that the Colorado College Conservation in the West poll showed want existing national monuments left intact.
• Reviewing any monument is a political act, but especially when it involves one that is more than two decades old and flourishing. No president has ever taken this needless step, and neither should President Trump.
The comment period for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument closes on July 10. But please take a moment and write now. We want to show strong support prior to the anniversary of the Antiquities Act on June 8!
To make sure your comment is properly tallied, please send us a copy. You can do that easily by:
Thanks for taking action.