Comment Period Open on Lease Sale Near Zion National Park
The Bureau of Land Management’s Saint George field office is preparing to lease for oil and gas development approximately 4,730 acres of federal public land at its upcoming lease sale. Two of the parcels are located less than two miles from Zion National Park along the Kolob Terrace Road, a popular tourist route. Oil and gas development in this area will be visible from the gateway community of Virgin as well as from inside the park, threatening pristine night skies, air quality, and tourism.
The BLM’s proposal to lease for oil and gas development on the doorstep of Utah’s most popular national park has been met, unsurprisingly, by strong opposition. Local residents packed the Virgin Community Center to express their concerns during a public meeting with BLM officials, and the Washington County Commission passed a resolution in opposition to the lease sale, noting that Zion National Park is “an internationally recognized showpiece” and “the scenic nature of the area surrounding [the park] contributes to the beauty, economy, and recreational values in Washington County.”
If you’d like to raise objections to the lease sale, the BLM is accepting public comments through March 9, 2017.
Photo © Luke Henry/SUWA
SUWA Goes On Air to Defend Bears Ears
Last Thursday was a big day for the new Bears Ears National Monument.
Following a disastrous call with Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Outdoor
Retailer—the huge outdoor recreation convention held in Salt Lake City
twice a year—announced that it would be leaving Utah as soon as
possible in protest over the state’s attempts to convince President
Trump to rescind or reduce the monument. And that same day, SUWA
launched a statewide television campaign to remind Utahns that despite
the governor’s misguided and damaging rhetoric, Bears Ears National
Monument is good for Utah.
Rep. Chaffetz Gets an Earful at Town Hall Meeting
On February 9th, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz held a town hall meeting at a suburban Salt Lake City high school. To say that the House Oversight Committee Chairman has rankled his constituents would be an understatement. In particular, his war against public lands protection (in lockstep with the rest of the Utah delegation) and his campaign against the Bears Ears National Monument (he asked Trump to revoke the designation in a recent DC meeting) raised the ire of many redrock activists in his district—and boy did they turn out to let him know.
Inside the packed 1,100-seat auditorium, roughly half of the questions centered on Chaffetz’s opposition to public lands, Bears Ears, and environmental protection in general. Outside the meeting, another 1,200 people, armed with banners and hand-made posters in support of Bears Ears, Protect Wild Utah, and a host of other issues, held a spontaneous and boisterous rally. Chants included “Protect Bears Ears,” “Do your job,” and “Keep your hands off our lands!”
In the wake of Chaffetz’s contentious town hall,
which was widely covered by national
media, the Utah Republican Party announced that it will no longer hold live
town hall meetings, opting for staged tele-town hall meetings instead. In response, citizens are holding the first Utah Town Hall for All this Friday, Feb 24th at Cottonwood High School. If you live in Utah (regardless of district) and want to speak your mind, we encourage you to attend. If you’d like to get active
in other ways, please fill out our online survey.
Photo © Terri Martin/SUWA
SUWA Adds New Field Organizers in Six Key Regions
There are some important senators and representatives who are going to make or break the fight to save our public lands in Utah under the current Congress and administration. SUWA has contracted six new field organizers to better target these senators and representatives to #ProtectWildUtah. They are Allahandro Bradford (FL), Mike Salaski (PA), John Demos (ME/NH), Miguel Perla (Southern CA), Ryan Mykita (Northern CA), and Jenny Holmes (WA/OR). We are very excited to welcome these new field organizers to the fight to protect our public lands!
If you would like to contact your field organizer, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take Action to #ProtectWildUtah from Your Smartphone
Would you like to receive text alerts so you can quickly take action to #StandWithBearsEars and #ProtectWildUtah? Simply text the keyword SUWA to 52886 and we will alert you when public lands are threatened so you can send emails to your elected officials, tweet at represenatives, and share your support for the redrock on Facebook! We’ll also let you know about events you can attend and actions you can take to ensure that public lands stay in public hands. Sign up today!