SUWA Praises U.S. House Vote on Emery County Public Land Legislation

Feb 26th, 2019 Written by suwa

Utah’s Iconic San Rafael Swell Nears Wilderness Protection as Part of Public Lands Package Passed by U.S. House of Representatives 

Contact: Scott Groene, Executive Director, 801-712-5034,

Jen Ujifusa, Legislative Director, 801-791-2598,

Moab, UT (February 26, 2019) – In response to today’s passage of the Emery County Public Land Management Act by the U.S. House of Representatives as part of S. 47, the Natural Resources Management Act, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) executive director Scott Groene issued the following statement:

“Now that both the Senate and House have passed this legislation, only the President’s signature is needed to protect 663,000 acres of Utah’s iconic San Rafael Swell and Desolation and Labyrinth Canyons as designated wilderness. After a year-long fight, what began as terrible legislation will now extend much-needed protection to some of Utah’s most beloved redrock landscapes.

“With our Utah Wilderness Coalition allies- the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council- and thousands of Americans across the nation, we’ve made this legislation deserving of the places protected.

“There are still lands in Emery County and elsewhere deserving of protection, and we look forward to working with the Utah congressional delegation and other members of Congress to that end.

“We’re grateful to Senator Dick Durbin and Rep. Alan Lowenthal, who each challenged an earlier, flawed version of the bill—flaws which 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.

“We appreciate the efforts of Sen. Hatch, Rep. John Curtis, and their staffs for seeing the bill through.

“At a time when our nation’s public lands are under assault by the Trump administration, this legislation is good for Redrock wilderness. Passing this legislation involved compromises, and worthy landscapes were left out. Nonetheless, this bill is good for Utah and good for the United States.”

Additional Resources

More information, including maps and photographs of the protected region, is available here.