Has Obama caught monument fever?

Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
1.  Support for protecting Desolation Canyon spreads nationwide.
2.  Today Fort Ord, can Greater Canyonlands be next?
3.  House continues its war on wilderness.
4.  Attend events in Moab and Boulder, CO to celebrate Greater Canyonlands!

Drumbeat continues against Desolation Canyon drilling proposal

Last month, we told you about the Interior Department’s ill-conceived plan to allow Gasco to drill over 200 natural gas wells in the Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness.

This photo is of Desolation Canyon – at the Sand Wash airstrip looking north to the Sand Wash put-in. Drilling of gas wells proposed by the Obama administration could be seen and heard from this site.

Since then, voices from across the country have stood up and urged Interior to instead adopt an alternative proposal that would spare Desolation Canyon’s wild lands from the impacts of energy development.

In the past month, the Salt Lake Tribune has not once, but twice declared that this is not the way to do things.  The New York Times also editorialized against this boondoggle. The Akron Beacon-Journal in northeast Ohio joined in on the criticism of the project.

Additionally, six public lands champions in Congress sent the Obama administration a letter asking Interior to fix the Desolation Canyon drilling plan.

But most importantly,YOU have taken action against drilling in the Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness, sending almost 20,000 messages to the Obama administration so far through action alerts and petition signatures.

Let’s keep up the drumbeat! While the initial “waiting period” for the final decision on this proposal ended on April 16, the BLM hasn’t issued its ‘record of decision’ for the Gasco project and can still change its mind about which alternative to adopt.

You can help spread the word by sharing our Change.org petition throughout your social networks — tell your friends to also take action to protect Desolation Canyon!

Obama declares second national monument – what will be next?

Today, Friday, April 20, President Obama designated the second national monument of his first term by protecting Fort Ord in California.  Has he caught a serious case of monument fever?

Colorado College students are wild about protecting Greater Canyonlands!

That has yet to be determined, but Greater Canyonlands supporters across the country sure have.  From participating in our Facebook campaign to waving “President Obama: Protect Greater Canyonlands” signs at events, redrock activists are going wild about protecting Greater Canyonlands.

Last week, college students from Colorado College donned bright yellow and black “Tell President Obama: Protect Greater Canyonlands” t-shirts when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar visited campus.  Elsewhere around Colorado, college students have been busy collecting postcards and Facebook messages in support of the campaign.  And local organizations in Moab are planning to celebrate Greater Canyonlands as part of their Earth Day celebration.

Want to help convince President Obama to make Greater Canyonlands the next national monument? Here’s how:

1) “Like” the Protect Greater Canyonlands Facebook page and invite friends to “like” the page as well.

2) Send a photo message to President Obama and use it to spread the word about protecting Greater Canyonlands.  Visit our Facebook app or greatercanyonlands.org to get started.  You’ll also be entered to win a prize in a monthly drawing — a Petzl headlamp is the prize for May!

3) Send President Obama an email message by clicking here.

4) Visit greatercanyonlands.org to find out other ways that you can amplify your message to President Obama.

Angling to chip away at conservation, House passes flawed “hunting” bill

This week the House of Representatives passed a deeply flawed “hunting” bill, H.R. 4099, chipping away wilderness and Wilderness Study Area protections, and watering down the President’s authority to designate national monuments under the Antiquities Act.

The latter occurred when the House passed an amendment requiring national monument designations to be approved by the state legislatures and governor of the host state. Had such provisions been in effect previously, national treasures like Arches, Bryce and Zion National Parks, and the Grand Tetons National Park would not have been protected by the short-sighted Utah and Wyoming legislatures of the time.

And though it was ostensibly about guaranteeing hunting and fishing rights on federal land (rights which are already robustly protected, and which we support), the effective language of the bill raised concern it would allow commercial development and motorized use in areas managed as wilderness if those activities could be justified by hunting or fishing. An amendment to clarify such activities would not be allowed failed, indicating that indeed, the intent was chip away at habitats—not protect hunters.

It’s now up to the Senate to keep this bad bill language—which guts the Antiquities Act and tramples wilderness—off of the President’s desk.

Celebrate Greater Canyonlands in Moab, UT and Boulder, CO!

Planning to be in southeastern Utah tomorrow, Saturday, April 21?  Don’t miss the 1st Annual Moab Earth Day Bazaar: An Ode to Greater Canyonlands! This free event starts at 11 a.m. at Swanny Park.  Click here for more information.

Next month, renowned climbers Lynn Hill and Steve “Crusher” Bartlett will talk about the Greater Canyonlands region as a resource for climbers and a place worthy of protection at Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder, CO on May 17.  More info coming soon!  Email Jackie at jackie@suwa.org with questions.

Sign the petition to protect Greater Canyonlands