January 2020 Redrock Report

Jan 29th, 2020 Written by suwa

America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act Needs Your Voice!

Fisher TowersAmerica’s Red Rock Wilderness Act was reintroduced in the Senate last month by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), and we expect Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) to reintroduce the bill in the House of Representatives any day now. Please help us gather support for this visionary legislation! We have several actions for you that can really make a difference.

First, check the list of current Senate cosponsors on our website. If either of your senators has already endorsed the bill, please click here to thank them for their support!

If you don’t see one or both of your senators on the list, there’s still time for them to get on the bill. Click here to ask them to sign on as a cosponsor of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

You can also use this link to urge your representatives to cosponsor the companion bill soon to be introduced in the House. Based on your address, the message will go to your representative in the House and any senator not currently on the bill. Our system is clever like that.

Thanks for taking action!

Photo © Tom Till

Good News! Appeal by SUWA and Partners Stymies 175 Oil & Gas Permits in Nine Mile/Desolation Canyon Region

Desolation Canyon (Horse Bench), Ray BloxhamEarlier this month, the Trump administration announced that it had withdrawn its approval of 175 controversial oil and gas drilling permits on public lands in the Desolation Canyon region of eastern Utah.

The decision follows an appeal by conservation groups which argued that the project, if implemented, would decimate greater sage-grouse habitat, destroy BLM-identified wilderness characteristics, and exacerbate the ongoing climate crisis—impacts that the BLM had failed to fully analyze. In his decision, the state director agreed, reversed the BLM’s drilling approvals, and ordered the agency to “complete additional [environmental] analysis.”

This is just the latest setback for the Trump administration’s “energy dominance” agenda in Utah and nationally. Following several significant legal precedents, including a pivotal March 2019 federal court ruling, the BLM on four recent occasions has been forced to pull back oil and gas leasing decisions covering more than 328,000 acres of public lands in Utah due to inadequate environmental analyses.

>> Click here to read our full press release

Photo © Ray Bloxham/SUWA

Listen to Our Latest Podcast!

Mark Maryboy Podcast ScreenshotOur current Wild Utah podcast episode features SUWA board member Mark Maryboy, who made history when he was elected in 1986 as the first Native American county commissioner in San Juan County, Utah—home to Bears Ears National Monument.

Maryboy, a former Navajo Nation Council delegate and longtime advocate for Native people and the environment, shares his personal stories about the political history of San Juan County and the struggle for Native representation at the county government level.

Since its debut, SUWA’s Wild Utah podcast has covered a number of issues facing redrock country. Please join our growing world of listeners by subscribing to Wild Utah through Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, or on our website.

>> Click here to listen to the latest podcast now

BLM Commits $75 Million to the Continued Destruction of Utah’s Public Lands

Vegetation Treatment, Hamlin ValleyOn New Year’s Eve, the Utah office of the BLM announced a five-year, $75 million-dollar financial agreement to support the continued destruction of piñon pine, juniper, and sagebrush ecosystems throughout Utah.

The BLM committed up to $75 million dollars to the Utah Watershed Restoration Initiative (UWRI), a partnership of federal and state agencies and public land grazing and hunting interests. UWRI has clearcut and mechanically “treated” hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands in Utah in the name of restoration since its inception 12 years ago.

Recent scientific literature clearly outlines the risks associated with large-scale surface disturbing activities, such as chaining or mulching live piñon pine and juniper forests, yet the BLM and UWRI have almost always ignored this information and instead forged ahead with an antiquated, unscientific approach to land management that more often than not converts the “treated” areas into exotic forage and invasive species.

>> Click here to read our full press release

>> Read SUWA attorney Kya Marienfeld’s response to false justifications of this practice in a recent St. George News article

Photo © Ray Bloxham/SUWA

Mark Your Calendar with Upcoming Stewardship Opportunities!

Wilderness Stewards, 2019 (Jeremy Lynch)The 2020 Stewardship Season begins in just over a month! Join SUWA staff on public lands across Utah working hands-on to protect our wild places from the ground up. Join a one-, two-, or four-day service project or training. Camp with fellow volunteers, share meals, and convene around the campfire—all while working to address impacts to natural and cultural resources. A project preview is now available online. Our complete spring project schedule will be posted February 15th.

Register to receive monthly updates on new project offerings or apply for a project directly.

Contact or call (435) 259-9151 with any questions. See you in the field!

Photo © Jack Hanley/SUWA