• February 16th, 2021

    Two conservation organizations filed suit today in federal district court in Utah challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s highly destructive motorized vehicle travel plan for the San Rafael Desert

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  • February 5th, 2021

    What role can America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act play in achieving the Biden administrations goals of mitigating the climate crisis and protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030? We dive deep into two recent scientific reports that provide an answer.

    Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Wild Utah’s theme music, “What’s Worth?” is composed by Moab singer-songwriter Haley Noel Austin. Post studio production and editing is by Jerry Schmidt.

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  • January 29th, 2021

    The Earth and all its inhabitants face the dire threats of climate change and the loss of nature, including extinctions. And in its first ten days the Biden administration has already taken meaningful steps to address those threats. It isn’t our job at SUWA to cheerlead for a particular administration, it’s our job to push them to go further. But we are very encouraged–even excited–by the Biden administration’s start.

    This administration has set a 60-day target for review of Trump’s illegal evisceration of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, with the clear intention of undoing those historic wrongs–and perhaps going a step further, with the larger boundaries originally proposed by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition.

    It has hit the pause button on new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and offshore waters to consider the climate impacts.

    It will review the Trump administration’s misdeeds, including the illegal elimination of environmental analysis and public involvement in controversial vegetation removal projects.

    It will hold for 60 days a raft of last-minute Trump malfeasance including: issuance of oil/gas leases and drilling permits, mining plans of operation, decisions regarding RS 2477 claims, and approval of land exchanges.

    And the Biden administration has set as a goal protecting 30 percent of our land and waters by the year 2030. This visionary goal will slow the loss of biodiversity and ameliorate the impacts of climate change.

    Getting to 30×30 is essential, and the goal can only be reached by protecting lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), our nation’s largest land manager. America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act is an important part of getting there.

    This will take a multipronged effort, and on the executive branch side, 30×30 goals can best be reached through the establishment of new wilderness study areas. This could bring real protection to tens of millions of acres of BLM lands across the American West, including millions of acres here in Utah.

    The predictable and disappointing response from Utah’s governor and congressional delegation was denouncement of Biden’s efforts to confront the existential threat of climate change. Their persistence in clinging to past economies threatens our children’s future and the wellbeing of the planet.

    There are big challenges ahead. Many of the administration’s goals will be difficult to implement in these divided States of America. The Utah politicians and those like them will fight for the status quo that seems favored by the rigid base they face in primaries. But the Biden administration clearly intends to manage public lands in a new way, following the guiding principle of addressing the climate and nature crises.


  • January 27th, 2021



    Landon Newell, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, (801) 428-3991, landon@suwa.org 

    Steve Bloch, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, (801) 428-3981, steve@suwa.org 

    Salt Lake City, UT (January 27, 2021) – President Biden today issued an Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which, among other things, places a pause on oil and gas leasing on federal public lands and commits the United States to a ten-year goal of conserving 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

    In response, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance legal director Steve Bloch issued the following statement:

    “We are grateful that President Biden is following through on his commitment to reassert our nation as a climate leader, not a climate denier. 

     “The President’s decision to order a pause on new oil and gas leasing on federal public lands is a common sense and desperately needed step to right the ship and chart a more thoughtful, climate conscious path forward as our nation Builds Back Better. 

     “Over the past four years, the oil and gas industry stockpiled millions of acres of oil and gas leases and drilling permits across the West. In Utah alone, the industry is sitting on more than 1.7 million acres of unused federal oil and gas leases on some of our nation’s wildest and most culturally significant public lands. At the same time, drilling is at a historically low rate. In this landscape, the Biden administration’s pause on new leasing will not impact the oil and gas industry’s bottomline.”

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