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Supporters and wilderness advocates like you play a critical role in the protection of Utah’s spectacular wild places.
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*Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
How Dust on Colorado’s Snow Could Ruin Your Salad
“If your lettuce doesn’t get grown in California, you notice that in Washington, D.C.” So says Jayne Belnap, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in a must-read piece from Climate Progress on how increasing dust from industrial development on the Colorado Plateau (including Greater Canyonlands) is threatening the Southwest’s most critical watershed. “Dust has to become part of [our] land management goals,” Belknap says. One way to manage growing dust in an era of changing climate is to protect large landscapes like Greater Canyonlands. After you read the article, encourage President Obama to take action.
BLM’s Moab Master Leasing Plan Begins to Take Shape
This spring the BLM released three preliminary alternatives of the Moab Master Leasing Plan (MLP) for public review and comment. This plan will determine what lands are available for oil, gas and potash leases and permits in large areas of public land close to Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. It also covers many outstanding proposed wilderness areas including Labyrinth Canyon, Fisher Towers and Harts Point/Shay Mountain.
We support Alternative C, which would give the most protection to lands proposed for wilderness in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. The BLM plans to release a draft of the plan and an environmental impact statement this fall; a final MLP should follow by fall 2015.
Sen. Baldwin’s Red Rock Cosponsorship Ties Senate Record
Just before Memorial Day, Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin became the 23rd member of the Senate—and the seventh member of the crucial Energy and Natural Resources Committee—to cosponsor the bill in this congress. Her addition ties the all-time record for Senate cosponsors and fills the void of Wisconsin Senate support created when Sen. Russ Feingold was defeated. Thank you, Sen. Baldwin!
Needed: Health “Testimonials for Greater Canyonlands
SUWA is working with a team of health and well being professionals in Utah on a letter to President Obama asking him to protect Greater Canyonlands because of the physical, emotional and public health benefits to all Americans. We are looking for short one-page or less statements or “testimonials” by people (especially Utah residents) who have benefited in terms of physical or mental health/well-being by spending time in wild nature. This might be an individual (or family) who:
Please contact Terri at email@example.com immediately for more information or if you are willing to write a testimonial.
Also, if you are a Utah-based health or well-being professional (doctor, nurse, health aide or technician, mental health worker, “alternative” well-being practitioner, body worker or healer of any kind) and want to add your name to the letter, please contact Terri at firstname.lastname@example.org
Crazy Continues in Carbon County
Even though a Federal Judge struck down a similar state law last year, the Carbon County Commission passed a resolution on June 5th proclaiming “that any attempted law enforcement by an official of a federal land agency is not recognized by the county, and shall be deemed an imminent threat to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Carbon County.” Castle Country Radio reports that “the resolution advises that any federal official who intends to exercise law enforcement powers shall first declare to the Sheriff his [sic] intent to enter Carbon County and the intended action on a case by case basis.” Further proof that crazy (and unconstitutional) ideas are alive and well among many elected officials in Utah.
SUWA Website Gets a New Look
We’re pleased to announce that SUWA’s website is now tablet and mobile friendly! Plus, with lots of beautiful new pictures! Check it out on your phone, laptop or tablet at SUWA.org.
On May 10, San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman led dozens of anti-federal government protesters driving off-road vehicles (ORVs) past the BLM’s signs prohibiting ORV use into Recapture Canyon. Although there are approximately 4,000 miles of designated routes open to ORV use on public lands in San Juan County (2,820 miles managed by the Monticello BLM and another 1,000 miles managed by the Moab BLM), Commissioner Lyman said he was leading the illegal ORV ride to protest the “jurisdictional creep” of the federal government and the notion that the BLM “arbitrarily shut down a road in San Juan County.”
Far from an arbitrary action, BLM’s 2007 closure of the Recapture trail to motorized vehicles was based on evidence that the illegally constructed ORV trail and subsequent ORV use was causing adverse effects to the prehistoric cultural resources in and near the trail. Please tell the BLM it should maintain the existing closure to protect these resources rather than giving a right-of-way for the illegal trail to San Juan County.
The illegal event in Recapture Canyon is but another result of the misguided “take back federal lands” rhetoric spewed by a small cadre of western elected officials. Commissioner Lyman’s “childish snit fit,” which showed complete disregard for irreplaceable prehistoric cultural resources, is a perfect example of why state and local officials should not be entrusted with our public lands legacy.
Commission Lyman’s statements to the media that “[i]t feels great” after riding into the closed area illustrate a complete disrespect for both federal law and the Native Americans who continue to honor the cultural values of the canyon today. The commissioner’s actions in defiance of the BLM’s ORV Closure Order and in violation of laws enacted to protect our cultural heritage must not go unpunished.
Most importantly, the BLM must continue to protect the archaeological resources of Recapture Canyon and not cave to political pressure to give San Juan County a right-of-way for the illegally constructed route. Click here to send a letter to BLM Director Neil Kornze asking him to deny the county’s right-of-way request for the illegal ORV trails in Recapture Canyon.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is moving ahead with the so-called Moab Master Leasing Plan (Moab MLP). This plan will determine what areas are available for oil, gas and potash leases and permits on large swaths of public land close to Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. It also affects many outstanding proposed wilderness areas including Labyrinth Canyon, Fisher Towers and Harts Point/Shay Mountain.
The BLM has released three preliminary alternatives of the Moab MLP: Alternatives B1, B2 and C. There are maps and comparisons of these alternatives on the BLM’s website.
The agency is accepting public comment through May 28 on the alternatives. There is no better time for public comment to influence the direction of this critically important plan!
We strongly encourage you to support Alternative C, which would protect the most proposed wilderness from leasing and development.
Here are some points to make in your comments:
Click here to see a map of the lands that will be affected by the Moab MLP. And click here to review several BLM-prepared reports and studies about oil, gas and potash potential in the Moab MLP planning area.
The Moab MLP provides a critical opportunity to correct the BLM’s 2008 Bush-era resource management plans which left hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness-caliber lands open for oil, gas and potash leasing and development in the Moab area.
Comments should be mailed by May 28 to:
Bureau of Land Management, Canyon Country District Office
Attn: Brent Northrup, Project Manager
82 East Dogwood
Moab, UT 84532
Comments can also be emailed to email@example.com
Last Saturday, San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman led dozens of anti-federal government protesters driving off-road vehicles (ORVs) past signs prohibiting ORV use into Recapture Canyon.