• March 28th, 2017

    Yesterday, SUWA filed a Motion to Intervene with the Interior Board of Land Appeals, asking to join the BLM in defending the recently approved Resource Management Plans for the Beaver Dam Wash and Red Cliffs National Conservation Areas (NCAs).

    Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. Photo by Ray Bloxham/SUWA

    These two NCAs—both located in Utah’s southwestern corner where the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert ecosystems meet—were created to “conserve, protect, and enhance . . . the ecological, scenic, wildlife, recreational, cultural, historical, natural, educational, and scientific resources” of the designated lands. Additionally, the Red Cliffs NCA was established to protect threatened and endangered species like the desert tortoise. The BLM was required to develop management plans to accomplish these purposes, which were released on December 21, 2016.

    Missing the point of the NCAs entirely, Washington County, the City of St. George, and the Washington County Water Conservancy District filed an appeal in hopes of increasing the amount of certain types of development that can occur within the conservation areas. Perhaps the most troubling of these potential developments, and probably the one project that would be the most harmful to desert tortoises, is a highway or transportation corridor running east to west through desert tortoise habitat in the Red Cliffs NCA.

    If SUWA is allowed to intervene, we will fight to uphold the intended purpose of the NCA designations and protect the wildlife and wilderness-quality lands within these two remarkable landscapes.

    Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. Photo by Creed Murdock

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  • March 14th, 2017

    Great news in the fight for Bears Ears!

    Indian Creek (c) Tim Peterson, flown by Lighthawk.

    Indian Creek (c) Tim Peterson, flown by Lighthawk.

    Yesterday, the Department of the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) issued an order granting SUWA’s Petition for Stay in our recent appeal fighting new ATV trails in Indian Creek, inside Bears Ears National Monument.

    Finding that SUWA and our partners Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Grand Canyon Trust, and the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club would be irreparably harmed by allowing construction of new motorized trails in Indian Creek, the IBLA concluded that the public interest would be best served by immediately staying the construction of the trails “to prevent harm to the environment and preserve the status quo.”

    This order is the first step in ensuring the Monument is protected from increasing motorized use and prohibits BLM from beginning construction until the IBLA has ruled on the merits of our appeal, for which they have already said we have a high likelihood of success when they granted our petition for stay.

    This is an exciting victory for wilderness, and is the first time an administrative body or court has addressed the legal effect of the Bears Ears National Monument Proclamation, which calls for careful consideration and analysis when managing the spectacular and irreplaceable resources within its boundaries. See a report on our appeal here, and read the IBLA’s order granting our Petition for Stay here.

  • March 1st, 2017

    This morning, the Senate wrapped up debate and confirmed Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana to be Secretary of Interior on a 68-31 vote. The newly-minted Secretary had barely settled into his first lunch hour on the job when a rally formed outside the Department of Interior, with dozens of people gathered to show support for Bears Ears National Monument.

    Join them by calling Sec. Zinke now to say you support Bears Ears! Click here to be patched through or call 202-208-7351.

    Bears Ears supporters rally outside the Department of Interior shortly after Secretary Zinke’s confirmation.

    Why all the focus on Utah’s latest great monument? It’s because the Utah delegation and state legislature have been clamoring for Sec. Zinke to recommend that President Trump repeal or shrink the monument, against the wishes of the historic tribal coalition that advocated for it, the hundreds of thousands of Utahns that celebrated it, and the best interests of the American people.

    It’s imperative that Zinke, as the top steward of our nation’s public lands, resist the extreme views of Utah politicians, who are even advocating for the repeal of the 20-year-old Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument!

    Call Rep. Zinke now and tell him to leave Utah’s monuments alone! Be sure to mention where you’re from!

    There is still time to persuade Sec. Zinke to go the right way on this. He’s from Montana, he reportedly has a good relationship with tribes, and he has repeatedly expressed his admiration for Teddy Roosevelt—the president who first used and advocated for the Antiquities Act. He has also said he opposes the transfer of federal lands.

    But as a congressman, Zinke voted against policies that would cut carbon pollution, and for those that would block the creation of new national monuments and eliminate protections for wildlife.

    We’re not sure which version of Zinke we’ll see on this issue, but we’re betting if he hears from you, he’ll find it difficult to attack Bears Ears.

    Click here to be patched through to Secretary Zinke right now. (Have your cell phone handy.)

    If you’d prefer to send Secretary Zinke an email, click here. However you contact him, please let him know that both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments are here to stay.

    Thank you!

     

  • February 23rd, 2017

    Comment Period Open on Lease Sale Near Zion National Park

    Zion Lease Sale Parcel (Luke Henry)

    The Bureau of Land Management’s Saint George field office is preparing to lease for oil and gas development approximately 4,730 acres of federal public land at its upcoming lease sale. Two of the parcels are located less than two miles from Zion National Park along the Kolob Terrace Road, a popular tourist route. Oil and gas development in this area will be visible from the gateway community of Virgin as well as from inside the park, threatening pristine night skies, air quality, and tourism.

    The BLM’s proposal to lease for oil and gas development on the doorstep of Utah’s most popular national park has been met, unsurprisingly, by strong opposition. Local residents packed the Virgin Community Center to express their concerns during a public meeting with BLM officials, and the Washington County Commission passed a resolution in opposition to the lease sale, noting that Zion National Park is “an internationally recognized showpiece” and “the scenic nature of the area surrounding [the park] contributes to the beauty, economy, and recreational values in Washington County.”

    If you’d like to raise objections to the lease sale, the BLM is accepting public comments through March 9, 2017.

    >> Click here to submit comments now

    Photo © Luke Henry/SUWA


    SUWA Goes On Air to Defend Bears Ears

    Bears Ears Ad ScreenshotLast Thursday was a big day for the new Bears Ears National Monument.
    Following a disastrous call with Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Outdoor
    Retailer—the huge outdoor recreation convention held in Salt Lake City
    twice a year—announced that it would be leaving Utah as soon as
    possible in protest over the state’s attempts to convince President
    Trump to rescind or reduce the monument. And that same day, SUWA
    launched a statewide television campaign to remind Utahns that despite
    the governor’s misguided and damaging rhetoric, Bears Ears National
    Monument is good for Utah.

    >> Click here to watch our newest ad


    Rep. Chaffetz Gets an Earful at Town Hall Meeting

    Chaffetz Town Hall Rally

    On February 9th, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz held a town hall meeting at a suburban Salt Lake City high school. To say that the House Oversight Committee Chairman has rankled his constituents would be an understatement. In particular, his war against public lands protection (in lockstep with the rest of the Utah delegation) and his campaign against the Bears Ears National Monument (he asked Trump to revoke the designation in a recent DC meeting) raised the ire of many redrock activists in his district—and boy did they turn out to let him know.

    Inside the packed 1,100-seat auditorium, roughly half of the questions centered on Chaffetz’s opposition to public lands, Bears Ears, and environmental protection in general. Outside the meeting, another 1,200 people, armed with banners and hand-made posters in support of Bears Ears, Protect Wild Utah, and a host of other issues, held a spontaneous and boisterous rally. Chants included “Protect Bears Ears,” “Do your job,” and “Keep your hands off our lands!”

    In the wake of Chaffetz’s contentious town hall,
    which was widely covered by national
    media
    , the Utah Republican Party announced that it will no longer hold live
    town hall meetings, opting for staged tele-town hall meetings instead. In response, citizens are holding the first Utah Town Hall for All this Friday, Feb 24th at Cottonwood High School. If you live in Utah (regardless of district) and want to speak your mind, we encourage you to attend. If you’d like to get active
    in other ways, please fill out our online survey.

    Photo © Terri Martin/SUWA


    SUWA Adds New Field Organizers in Six Key Regions

    There are some important senators and representatives who are going to make or break the fight to save our public lands in Utah under the current Congress and administration. SUWA has contracted six new field organizers to better target these senators and representatives to #ProtectWildUtah. They are Allahandro Bradford (FL), Mike Salaski (PA), John Demos (ME/NH), Miguel Perla (Southern CA), Ryan Mykita (Northern CA), and Jenny Holmes (WA/OR). We are very excited to welcome these new field organizers to the fight to protect our public lands!

    If you would like to contact your field organizer, email us at field@suwa.org.


    Take Action to #ProtectWildUtah from Your Smartphone

    Would you like to receive text alerts so you can quickly take action to #StandWithBearsEars and #ProtectWildUtah? Simply text the keyword SUWA to 52886 and we will alert you when public lands are threatened so you can send emails to your elected officials, tweet at represenatives, and share your support for the redrock on Facebook! We’ll also let you know about events you can attend and actions you can take to ensure that public lands stay in public hands. Sign up today!

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  • February 22nd, 2017

    The Bureau of Land Management’s Saint George field office is preparing to lease for oil and gas development approximately 4,730 acres of federal public land at its upcoming lease sale. Two of the parcels are located less than two miles from Zion National Park along the Kolob Terrace Road, a popular tourist route. Oil and gas development in this area will be visible from the gateway community of Virgin as well as from inside the park, threatening pristine night skies, air quality, and tourism.

    Looking east-southeast across lease parcels 42 and 43 at the outskirts of Zion National Park. Copyright Luke Henry/SUWA

    The BLM’s proposal to lease for oil and gas development on the doorstep of Utah’s most popular national park has been met, unsurprisingly, by strong opposition. Local residents packed the Virgin Community Center to express their concerns during a public meeting with BLM officials, and the Washington County Commission passed a resolution in opposition to the lease sale, noting that Zion National Park is “an internationally recognized showpiece” and “the scenic nature of the area surrounding [the park] contributes to the beauty, economy, and recreational values in Washington County.”

    The BLM is accepting public comments through March 9, 2017. Click here to submit comments now.

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