Join with Utah community leaders to say NO to Herbert’s land grab – Redrock Report February 2013

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

1. New signature campaign against Governor Herbert’s public land grab.
2. Greater Canyonlands becomes a hot topic in the Utah State Legislature.
3. Help protect the President’s ability to designate national monuments.
4. SUWA & our partners file a lawsuit to protect Desolation Canyon.
5. Hear our thoughts on Interior Secretary nominee Sally Jewell.

“For Kids and Lands” launches signature campaign against Gov. Herbert’s public land grab

An exciting new group in Utah is speaking out against Utah Governor Herbert’s public land grab, and they are asking Utah citizens to help them.

For Kids and Lands” is an informal group of educators, community leaders, and other citizens who care about Utah’s kids and landscapes.  In their words, “We came together because we are concerned that efforts by the state of Utah to assert ownership over publicly-owned federal lands in Utah would not benefit – in fact would harm – both of these precious resources.”

The group has drafted a position statement – endorsed by over 50 community leaders and educators – opposing the state of Utah’s efforts to claim ownership over federal public lands and dirt routes crossing federal lands.  Instead, they call for another path: “realistic solutions for education funding and stewardship of public lands.”

How you can help:  Go to and add your name.  Please help spread the word on Facebook and encourage your
friends to sign too!

This action is important because Utah legislators are poised to pass a new bill that would further advance Gov. Herbert’s public land grab agenda.  The bill instructs the state’s Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office to “identify a process for the state to transfer and receive title to public lands.”

Greater Canyonlands discussion heats up in the Utah State Legislature

Greater Canyonlands Hearing 2.7.13
Terry Tempest Williams, Utah Senator James
Dabakis and Mark Ritchie of
Black Diamond
Equipment testifying at the Greater Canyonlands

On February 5, Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis and State Representative Patrice Arent introduced a resolution in the Utah legislature in support of Congressional or Executive action to protect Greater Canyonlands—a watershed moment in the effort to preserve this landscape for future generations.

Two days later, and with less than 24 hours notice, Utah wilderness supporters packed a hearing room at the Utah State Capitol to support Sen. Dabakis’ resolution.  The Utah Senate Natural

Resources committee listened to testimony from Mark Ritchie, COO of Black Diamond Equipment, and Terry Tempest Williams, among others. Mark Ritchie spoke of Greater Canyonlands’ importance as a resource that helps to support Utah’s $5 billion a year outdoor recreation industry. author Terry Tempest Williams spoke of Greater Canyonlands as a “a spiritual reservoir” and “a geologic truth that belongs to all of us.”  Only one person was present to speak against the resolution.

The committee members were very polite and talked about the need to protect Greater Canyonlands (with some disagreement about what
“protection” means).  Then they voted to take up the resolution during Interim Committee – which is a victory (they could have just killed it).  The bottom line is that thanks to you, and the thousands of supporters of protection for America’s redrock wilderness across the country, we are moving forward.

If you haven’t already, please become a citizen co-signer of the resolution by clicking here.  You don’t have to be a Utah citizen to participate!

For more ways you can help protect the Greater Canyonlands region, visit and “like” the Protect Greater Canyonlands page on Facebook.

The Antiquities Act is under attack!

Sunset Arch
Thanks to the Antiquities Act, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was protected in 1996.  Photo copyright James Kay.

It’s been an exciting few weeks with support building to protect the Greater Canyonlands every day!  But if we let our guard down we could lose the best tool to protect the Greater Canyonlands – the Antiquities Act.  This law, passed in 1906 and championed by Teddy Roosevelt, gives the President the authority to protect threatened public land as a national monument.  The Antiquities Act has been used dozens of times by presidents of both parties, and was the first step in protecting Arches, Zion, Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon.

In just the first month of Congress, four different bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate that would gut the Antiquities Act – leaving the American people with little hope of protecting treasured places with a Congress that is stubbornly stalling wilderness legislation

Help protect the Antiquities Act – Contact your members of Congress today!

Still fighting for the Desolation Canyon proposed wilderness

At the end of January, SUWA and a coalition of conservation groups filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Salt Lake City challenging the Interior Department’s decision to allow nearly 1,300 new oil and gas wells in Utah’s Desolation Canyon region.

Approved last year, the “Gasco project” was heavily criticized in editorials across the country but calls for a compromise decision were rejected by Secretary Salazar.  The drilling project was also roundly decried by congressional leaders, representatives from the outdoor industry, and environmental leaders who called on the Interior Department to protect Desolation Canyon while allowing a reasonable level of development in less sensitive areas.

Read more by clicking here.

Our take on Interior Secretary nominee Sally Jewell

SUWA Legislative Director Richard Peterson-Cremer on Interior Secretary nominee Sally Jewell:

“We are gladdened to see this impressive nominee to be the next Secretary of the Interior. Sally Jewell has a tremendous record supporting important conservation measures while also understanding the numerous uses of our public lands.  Importantly for Utah, she is well-versed in the importance of the outdoor recreation economy and the crucial role that protected public lands play in its success. We look forward to working with Ms. Jewell in the coming years to further protect Utah’s redrock.”

change.orgSign the petition to protect Greater Canyonlands