Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
1. The Utah state legislature’s anti-federal government campaign hits a brick wall called the U.S. Constitution.
2. Take action for wild Utah this summer!
3. SUWA’s annual Backyard Bash celebrates our community of citizen activists.
4. The BLM has a lot of bad ideas for Utah public lands.
5. Our challenge to a Bush-era land use plan is finally heard in court.
This could be the norm if Utah Gov. Herbert and the Utah state legislature get their way. Photo copyright Liz Thomas/SUWA.
Recently, Utah Governor Gary Herbert and the Utah state legislature ran into a little problem we like to call “the U.S. Constitution.” Over the past two years, Utah state leaders have been on a roll passing laws that would, in their minds, overrule the federal government’s authority when it comes to public lands. Earlier this month, the Utah state legislature was forced to repeal one of these laws or face a losing legal battle. Back in May, a federal judge blocked implementation of a law that would have prohibited Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service employees from enforcing state laws anywhere in Utah. In June, the judge issued a preliminary injunction pending a final ruling at trial. Instead of wasting even more taxpayer dollars on this sure-to-fail court case, cooler heads prevailed and the law was repealed this month.
However, the assault lives on in Gov. Herbert’s Utah public land grab, which includes a demand that over 30 million acres of federal land be handed over to the state of Utah and a slew of lawsuits aimed at wresting control of tens of thousands of miles of dirt routes crisscrossing Utah’s public lands. After the above mentioned law was repealed, notorious anti-wilderness state Rep. Mike Noel was quoted as saying his “horse might be down, but it will rise again.”
What can be done to stop this nonsense? Please let Gov. Herbert know that you want him to stop his public land grab! Add your name to our petition by clicking here, and be sure to share it with friends.
Congress may be taking August off, but summer is a fantastic time to take action to help protect Utah wilderness!
Volunteer to collect postcard signatures in support of protecting Greater Canyonlands this summer!
Here’s what you can do:
1) Volunteer to visit your Representative’s and/or Senators’ district office when they are home this August and ask that they support protecting wild Utah. Click here to sign up and SUWA’s grassroots staff will help you prepare for an in-district meeting or a district office visit.
2) Request a stack of Protect Greater Canyonlands postcards that you and your friends can sign (send them back to us and we’ll forward them to President Obama). Click here to volunteer.
3) Easiest of all: Help grow support for protecting Greater Canyonlands by liking and sharing the Protect Greater Canyonlands Facebook page.
Photo by Edward P. Kosmicki.
Sometimes we all just need to kick back and celebrate the amazing community of citizen activists who play such an important role in so many different ways in the ongoing effort to protect Utah’s wild lands. That’s what we did two weeks ago at SUWA’s annual “Backyard Bash” in Salt Lake City. About 100 wilderness enthusiasts of all ages – from babes in arms to those of us more seasoned – mingled and chatted, ate some good food, imbibed our beverage of choice and enjoyed some excellent music (provided by the wonderful band SYNKOFA). As SUWA’s Executive Director noted, SUWA’s members and supporters really are the lifeblood of the organization. They are what energizes and sustains the campaign to win permanent protection for the redrock, and the reason we have made so much progress over the last three decades. Thank you! We wish you all could all have joined us!
The BLM is again wreaking havoc in southern Utah
Abandoned airstrip in the Mexican Mountain WSA. Photo copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.
Recently, the BLM has come up with a lot of bad ideas for Utah public lands. If you haven’t already, please take action to tell the BLM to protect wild Utah!
1) The BLM is starting a multi-year environmental study to consider the impacts of an Estonian-owned company developing a large-scale oil shale mine, conducting on-site refining, and transporting the product to market. It will also look at impacts from several rights-of-way across BLM land leading to the mine site itself, which is located on private lands. Tell the BLM “NO WAY!” You can submit written comments via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or mail (Vernal field office, BLM, Attention Stephanie Howard, 170 South 500 East, Vernal, UT 84078).
2) The BLM Price field office appears ready to give in to the demands of the Utah Back County Pilots Association (BCPA) by allowing the naturally reclaimed landing strip in the heart of the Mexican Mountain Wilderness Study Area (WSA) to be upgraded to its pre-WSA condition. There are several other backcountry airstrips in and near the San Rafael Swell that are available for BCPA and others to use and enjoy. Please tell the BLM to preserve the integrity of the Mexican Mountain WSA by denying the proposed maintenance project.
3) The BLM’s Monticello field office has announced a proposal to add more off-road vehicle (ORV) routes to the 3,000-plus miles of routes in San Juan County that were designated in the 2008 Resource Management Plan and Travel Plan (RMP/TP). Please tell the BLM to do its homework first!
The Mount Ellen proposed wilderness in the Henry Mountains. Photo copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.
Attorneys for SUWA and Earthjustice recently argued in federal district court to overturn a Bush-era land use plan. The Richfield Resource Management Plan and Off-Highway Vehicle Travel Plan was completed in late 2008 and prioritized oil and gas development and motorized vehicles above all other uses of the public lands. Of more than 680,000 acres of BLM identified wilderness character lands, the Richfield plans only manage 78,600 acres to protect wilderness values (and then just barely). This is just the first of six Bush-era plans challenged by SUWA and our conservation partners to be heard in court.