State of Utah Engages Law Firm for New Legal Battle Over Monuments
Last month, the Utah attorney general’s office announced it had selected a law firm for its challenge to President Biden’s restoration of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. The decision came just two days after a protest at the Utah State Capitol where Tribal leaders and local activists (including SUWA’s Olivia Juarez) urged state leaders to stop playing political football with Utah’s national monuments.
Despite the legal threat, Utah’s School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration is already working with the Interior Department on a land exchange that would trade out approximately 135,000 acres of state-owned land inside Bears Ears National Monument for federal lands with better revenue-generating potential (a similar exchange took place after Grand Staircase-Escalante was established).
The American public has repeatedly shown support for full protection of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. If you haven’t already done so, please send a message to Governor Cox and Attorney General Reyes telling them not to waste taxpayer money on another Monumental Mistake.
Photo © Laura Borichevsky/SUWA
ICYMI: Navajo Nation Council Endorses America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act
The Navajo Nation Council has passed a resolution in support of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, a first-of-its-kind endorsement that acknowledges the role protecting public lands can play in combating climate change.
“Our support for this Congressional bill sends a message that the Navajo Nation is concerned about climate change and the impact on our environment,” said Delegate Herman Daniels, Jr. “Since time immemorial, we have lived in the canyons, mountains, and on the mesas currently managed by the federal government that would be protected and preserved by this Congressional bill. For generations, our Indigenous people across the United States have been the original caretakers of our sacred lands and it will remain so.”
We are grateful to the Navajo Nation for their support of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. Please add your voice by asking your members of Congress to cosponsor the bill today!
You can find the full list of current cosponsors here. If any of your representatives are already cosponsors, please be sure to thank them.
Photo © Scott T. Smith
New Episode of Wild Utah Released, Bristlecone Firesides Launches Season Two
What happens after new wilderness and other land protections are designated through legislation? While every land management journey is different, one thing’s for sure: the devil’s in the details.
The latest episode of Wild Utah looks at how the local Bureau of Land Management plans to implement the new San Rafael Swell Recreation Area, 17 new wilderness areas (totaling 663,000 acres), and 3 Wild & Scenic river segments all designated by the Emery County Public Land Management Act. Listen to the podcast now at suwa.org/podcast or via your favorite streaming service.
If you’re interested in exploring the personal and intangible values of wilderness, tune in on January 28th to hear the first episode of Bristlecone Firesides, Season 2. Joining us around our virtual fireside will be some familiar voices as well as new guests to help us rediscover the spiritual power of wild things. In the meantime, listen to the Season 2 trailer and be sure to subscribe to the Bristlecone Firesides podcast wherever you stream your favorite shows!
SUWA Joins Utah 30×30 Coalition
SUWA is among more than a dozen Utah-based organizations working to protect 30 percent of the state’s lands and waters by the year 2030. We have joined the Utah 30×30 Coalition to ensure that the 9 million acres of Great Basin and Colorado Plateau wild lands proposed for wilderness designation under America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act are recognized as part of Utah’s unique solution to the climate crisis.
These landscapes are capable of storing 271 million metric tons of organic carbon in plants and soils by the end of the century—that’s equal to the mass of more than 200,000 of the world’s largest sequoia trees. To maintain healthy functioning ecosystems, preserve biodiversity, and mitigate impacts from climate change, we need to protect more land—and the benefits increase dramatically when we protect large landscapes that connect ecosystems and wildlife habitat.
>> Read KSL’s recent news story to learn more about the 30×30 Coalition’s efforts, or you can watch the coalition’s press conference here.
New in 2022: Latinos for Utah Wilderness Meetups
This month we launched our new Latinos for Utah Wilderness monthly meetups to cultivate Latinx-led victories in protecting wild Utah. Because everyone can benefit from more culturally competent community spaces for activists, especially in the fight to protect redrock wilderness, all are welcome! Join us in person if you live in the Salt Lake Valley or online from anywhere in the U.S.
>> Click here to RSVP for one of our February meetups
If you can’t join us in February, please fill out the form (without selecting a meetup date) to receive notice of our March schedule.