• December 13th, 2021

    In 2019, as part of the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, Congress passed the Emery County Public Land Management Act, which designated, among other things, 17 new wilderness areas (totaling 663,000 acres), the San Rafael Swell Recreation Area, and three Wild and Scenic segments on the Green River. The measure represented a major step forward in the protection of Utah’s public lands, and it wouldn’t have happened without the support of redrock advocates like you.

    As a result of these new designations, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Price field office must update its management plan for each of the affected areas—and that’s where you come in. The agency has kicked off its planning process and is asking for public input.

    Please tell the BLM you want these new plans to prioritize the protection of natural, cultural, and scenic values.

    Muddy Creek Wilderness. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA

    Some management directives are clear, such as the preservation of wilderness values, and the prohibition of motorized use, mining, and oil and gas development in designated wilderness areas. Others are less clear, such as the amount of commercial recreation use allowed in the wilderness areas, as well as what activities can be allowed in the San Rafael Swell Recreation Area, along Wild and Scenic river sections, and on unprotected wilderness-quality lands. While these areas are not designated as wilderness, they are essential parts of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act and play a crucial role in meeting the Biden administration’s goal of protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030.

    You have the opportunity to help shape the BLM’s management of these iconic landscapes so their natural, cultural, scenic, wildlife and other values are protected from the impacts of motorized recreation and irresponsible development.

    Click here to submit your comments to the BLM today.

    This “scoping” period is the first of several steps in the planning process, and it is the time when the BLM is most open to new information and ideas for management of these areas over the next several decades. This is our chance to influence how this irreplaceable redrock country will be managed for generations to come.

    Please speak up by January 7, 2022, and make your voice heard!

    Thank you!

  • December 1st, 2021

    Great news! 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.

    “Protecting our land is important to the Navajo people and we support this wilderness designation in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act,” said Speaker Seth Damon (Bááhaalí, Chichiltah, Manuelito, Red Rock, Rock Springs, Tséyatoh). “President Biden outlined a robust policy change across the federal government to address climate change. It is imperative that the Navajo Nation work on a global level to address this growing problem that affects our oceans, air, and water.”

    Will you take this moment to stand with the Tribe and ask your members of Congress to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act?

    Comb Ridge. Copyright Tim Peterson, flown by LightHawk

    Sponsored by Senator Dick Durbin and Representative Alan Lowenthal, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act would designate more than 8 million acres of Bureau of Land Management land as wilderness, the highest form of protection for federal lands. The bill would protect iconic Utah landscapes such as Cedar Mesa, Factory Butte, the Kaiparowits Plateau, and the Greater Canyonlands area.

    As the ancestral home of many Tribes, the region contains abundant and significant cultural resources. Protecting these wild landscapes would also keep a significant amount of fossil fuels in the ground, accounting for 5.7 percent of the carbon mitigation needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

    “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.”

    Please ask your members of Congress to support America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act today. And if any of your representatives are already cosponsors, please click here to thank them.

    SUWA is committed to working with Tribes to help protect the redrock permanently. We are grateful to the Navajo Nation for their efforts to support America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

    Add your voice by asking your members of Congress to cosponsor today!

  • November 29th, 2021

    It’s been a month and a half since President Biden’s Rose Garden ceremony where he fully restored Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments and righted one of the most grievous wrongs from the last administration. Surrounded by Native American Tribal leaders, the first Native American Secretary of the Interior, congressional and conservation stalwarts, and members of his executive team, Biden declared that protecting these monuments and their cultural sites and objects “may be the easiest thing I’ve ever done so far as President.” We couldn’t agree more!

    But Utah Governor Spencer Cox and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes felt differently. Where we see strong leadership and the vision to protect Bears Ears – a landscape Native American Tribes have called home since time immemorial – Cox and Reyes complain of an affront to rural Utahns. And where we see desperately needed action to conserve Grand Staircase-Escalante and mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis, Cox and Reyes wring their hands that this will mean less coal, oil, and gas is mined and burned at the expense of future generations.

    And now Cox and Reyes are willing to put someone else’s money (Utah taxpayers’) where their mouths are.

    A few weeks ago, the state of Utah announced that it was soliciting bids from law firms and lawyers to pursue a lawsuit against President Biden’s restoration of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. And while the announcement doesn’t exactly come out and say this, it’s clear the contract would last for years and may easily exceed $10 million dollars in fees and expenses. And why not? When it’s someone else’s money, the sky’s the limit, right?

    Not so fast . . . Please help us convince Governor Cox and Attorney General Reyes this is a terrible idea that will only backfire. If you live in Utah, send them a message now via our online alert system. And if you live in or near Salt Lake City, join us for a protest at 6pm this Thursday (12/2) at the Utah State Capitol.

    Rather than waste millions of taxpayer dollars on this fool’s errand (a very similar lawsuit challenging President Clinton’s establishment of Grand Staircase-Escalante was defeated by SUWA and others in 2004), Utah politicians should embrace the protection of these remarkable landscapes and recognize what huge assets they are to the state of Utah and our nation as a whole. Rather than pay private lawyers to travel first class and wine and dine at the taxpayers’ expense, those dollars should go to support stewardship, visitor education, and helping local communities benefit from the monuments.

    The choice is clear: Governor Cox and Attorney General Reyes should beat their swords into ploughshares and stand with the majority of Utahns and Americans who support protecting Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments.

     

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  • November 22nd, 2021

    Not long ago we told you about the Biden administration’s plan to auction off more than 6,600 acres of public land in Utah for oil and gas development. You may have even submitted comments in September, during the scoping phase of the public process. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has now released its environmental assessment for this lease sale and is accepting public comments through December 1st. Once again, we need you to raise your voice.

    Please tell the BLM to protect our climate by keeping fossil fuel development off our public lands.

    Development on these parcels would threaten wildlife, water resources, and recreation while exacerbating the climate crisis. Four of the six parcels are located adjacent to the Green River in the Uinta Basin, while another is located adjacent to the San Rafael Reef Wilderness, just north of the entrance to Goblin Valley State Park.

    Aerial View of San Rafael Reef Wilderness. © Tom Till

    The BLM is not required to sell these—or any parcels—for development. In January, President Biden issued an executive order pausing all new oil and gas leasing on public lands to allow the Interior Department to review its broken leasing program. And while a federal court in Louisiana set aside that order and instructed the Interior Department to restart a leasing process, the BLM retains broad legal discretion not to lease these lands in order to protect public health and the environment, including our climate.

    Tell the BLM to exercise its discretion and defer its sale of these Utah lease parcels.

    The Interior Department has recognized that the current oil and gas program is broken because, among other things, it “fail[s] to adequately incorporate consideration of climate impacts into leasing decisions” and “inadequately account[s] for environmental harms to lands, waters, and other resources.” The BLM should not offer any new parcels until these shortcomings are resolved, and the Biden administration should stand by its promise to curb fossil fuel leasing and development on our public lands.

    The BLM is accepting comments on its environmental assessment through December 1st. Please submit your comments today.

    Thank you!