It’s a coal filled holiday season at the Utah BLM – Redrock Report November 2011

November 2011

Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:

1.  Obama administration continues to be a disappointment.
2.  Help stop the Alton Coal Mine expansion!
3.  Get your holiday gift at the SUWA online store.
4.  December’s Utah Wilderness Dialogue is with David Strayer.
5.  The redrock bill now has 113 House cosponsors.

Will the disappointment ever end?

A message from SUWA
Executive Director
Scott Groene
Scott Groene

The Obama administration recently announced a meager list of areas that deserve federal protection. Given the fanfare of the list release, you might ask: does Obama plan to use his ample authority under the Antiquities Act to save these places as national monuments or grant some other form of administrative protection?

The answer is . . . drum roll please . . . no. What they’ve done is produce a list. That’s it. And it’s a pathetic list at that, one that omits upwards of 90% of Utah’s redrock wilderness and is based on 30 year-old and grossly deficient BLM inventories. The list includes just a few hundred thousand acres of already protected land in Utah, in contrast to the more than 9 million acres of magnificent BLM lands that deserve wilderness designation.

And what will they do with the list? Nothing. Not a single additional acre of redrock will be protected.

On the other hand, here’s what this administration IS doing: 1) defending in court the disastrous Bush administration decisions that left open much of this wilderness to ORV use and energy development (see feature story in our autumn/winter 2011 newsletter), 2) pushing forward with approval of a massive drilling project in proposed wilderness along the Green River in Upper Desolation Canyon (even though Desolation canyon is on their list), and 3) wasting valuable time and resources on silly gestures like this list.

Utah’s congressional delegation relishes attacking this administration as an electoral strategy, even for meaningless snake oil like this. Appeasement doesn’t work. So why won’t the Obama administration do something, anything, to protect these lands?

It’s of course our job, with your help, to see that it does.

To date, this administration has been a horrible disappointment for failing to step up to its obligation to responsibly manage our public lands. With this latest meaningless gesture, the only recognizable virtue is consistency.

If you haven’t already, please tell the Obama administration to protect the heart of the redrock wilderness — the Greater Canyonlands region — and ask your friends to do so as well.  And click here to get more involved in the movement to protect the remaining redrock wild lands in Utah.

Tell the BLM to say NO to the Alton Coal Mine!

Alton Coal Mine
The existing Coal Hollow mine site.
Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

The BLM could leave coal in our stockings this holiday season, specifically in the form of a coal strip mine outside of Bryce Canyon National Park.

The Obama administration recently released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) analyzing a proposal to sell a federal coal lease on the western
doorstep of Bryce Canyon National Park, potentially threatening the remarkable clean air, water, and dark night skies at the park, as well as the livelihood of nearby gateway communities.

Let the BLM know that they shouldn’t approve this coal strip mine!

Five public meetings will be held where you can share your concerns with BLM staff and managers. The meetings are scheduled from 6pm to 8pm MT on the following dates at these locations:

Alton, UT
November 29th, 2011
Alton Town Hall, 11 S 100 W

Kanab, UT
November 30th, 2011
Kanab City Library, 374 North Main St.

Panguitch, UT
December 1st, 2011
Panguitch City Hall/Library, 25 South 200 East

Cedar City, UT
December 6th, 2011
[Includes a hearing on the Draft EIS, Maximum Economic Recovery (MER), and Fair Market Value (FMV)]
Festival Hall Convention Center, 96 North Main

Salt Lake City, UT
December 7th, 2011
Salt Lake City Library, 210 E 400 S

Tell your friends about the meetings by inviting them through Facebook.

If you can’t make it to one of the meetings, please take action on our website by clicking here

The SUWA store is open for the holidays

SUWA Short Sleeve Retro T-Shirt in White/Blue  (Fitted)

Need a gift for the holidays?  Be sure to check out SUWA’s online store to purchase hats, t-shirts, and posters.  Or consider giving the gift of a SUWA membership to a budding redrock supporter you know.

Click here to visit our online store.

Utah Wilderness Dialogues: David Strayer

Please join us at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Jane’s Home, 1229 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, for this free presentation.

David Strayer
David Strayer

David Strayer received the University of Utah Distinguished Scholarly and Creative Research Award in 2010, and has been conducting research in the cognitive and neural sciences at the University of Utah since 1991. Each spring, he teaches an interdisciplinary course entitled “Cognition in the Wild” that explores the restorative effects that interacting in nature have on our cognitive function. In 2010, he led an expedition of neuroscientists down the San Juan river in southern Utah as part of a research agenda to better understand how our brain is subtly changed by being in nature. He spends his spare time exploring the red rocks of the desert southwest near Bluff.  Appetizers for the event have been generously donated by Squatters Pub Brewery.

Please RSVP at

New cosponsor spotlight

America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (H.R. 1916/S. 979) has now reached 113 cosponsors in the House and 12 in the Senate in the 112th Congress. Newly signed on Representatives include Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Jim Himes (D-CT), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), John Lewis (D-GA), and Rush Holt (D-NJ).  Please thank your members of Congress if they have cosponsored the bill!

If your members of Congress are not on the list of cosponsors, please ask them to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act today!

change.orgSign the petition to save Greater Canyonlands