October 2019 Redrock Report

Oct 4th, 2019 Written by suwa

Federal Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Monument Cases, Clearing Way for Litigation to Proceed

Bears Ears Buttes (Jeff Foott)The day of reckoning for President Trump’s unlawful attack on Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments drew closer when Judge Chutkan issued a decision on Monday denying the United States’ motions to dismiss these cases.

The decision clears the way for lawsuits filed against the Trump administration by Native American tribes, conservation groups, and other parties to proceed even as the Bureau of Land Management lurches ahead with new management plans for the areas under litigation.

There’s still a long road ahead, and we intend to pursue these cases until these remarkable cultural, scientific, and wild redrock landscapes are restored to their full glory.

Photo © Jeff Foott

Victory! Clearcutting Plan Overturned in Grand Staircase-Escalante

White Cliffs (Ray Bloxham)On September 16th, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) overturned a decision by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to chain and masticate more than 30,000 acres of pinyon-juniper forest and sagebrush stands from the Skutumpah Terrace area within Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument!

SUWA—along with our partners at Western Watersheds Project, The Wilderness Society, and the Grand Canyon Trust—had appealed the BLM’s February 2019 decision approving the project. In overturning the BLM’s decision, the IBLA found that the BLM failed to take a hard look at how vegetation removal would impact migratory birds, and that replacing native vegetation with non-native seed (for the benefit of cattle) was inconsistent with the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument management plan.

To build on this victory, we need to pressure Congress to ask the BLM some tough questions about how it is funding its attack on pinyon and juniper forests and sagebrush stands throughout the West.

>> Tell your members of Congress to hold the BLM accountable for destructive vegetation treatments on western public lands

>> Read our press release

Photo © Ray Bloxham/SUWA

UTVs Coming to Utah’s National Parks?

Utility Vehicle“The roar of ATVs could be coming to a Utah national park backcountry road near you under a major policy shift initiated by the National Park Service without public input,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported this week.

““UTVs are built for one reason, which is off-road use. That is the purpose for the existence of these machines,” [SUWA Wildlands Director Neal Clark told the Tribune]. “They’re loud and obnoxious and because of that they’re completely contrary to the reasons that people travel from across the globe and across the country to visit national parks.”

Follow our email alerts and social media in the coming weeks to learn more about this issue and how to take action.

Photo © Club Car, LLC

SUWA and Others File Climate Lawsuit Targeting 130 Oil and Gas Leases in Utah

Drill Rig, Big Flat (Neal Clark)On September 12th, SUWA, Living Rivers, and Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration for failing to consider the climate pollution from 130 oil and gas leases spanning 175,500 acres of public lands in Utah.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, says the Bureau of Land Management violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving five lease sales from 2014 to 2018 without accounting for the climate pollution that would result from oil and gas development. It asks the court to invalidate all eight approvals and their 130 leases.

“The climate crisis is being exacerbated by the BLM’s reckless and uninformed oil and gas leasing and development on public lands,” said SUWA Staff Attorney Landon Newell. “The development of these leases will push us closer to the point of no return on climate, while sacrificing some of the most wild, scenic and culturally significant public lands in America.”

>> Read our press release

Photo © Neal Clark/SUWA

New SUWA Podcast: “A Monumental Plan of Plunder”

Wild Utah Podcast GraphicOur latest podcast is now available on our website or your favorite podcast app. Titled “A Monumental Plan of Plunder,” this one takes a close look at the Trump administration’s new management plans for what remains of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument as well as the nearly one million acres President Trump excised from the 23-year-old monument.

SUWA Wildlands Attorney Kya Marienfeld explains how these plans authorize rampant chaining of pinyon and juniper forests and unbridled energy development, and set the stage for a free-for-all of off-road vehicle abuse.

>> Click here to listen to the podcast now

We’re Hiring!

Come join our team and help us fight the good fight. SUWA has an immediate
opening for a full-time administrative associate in our Salt Lake City office.
Interested applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and 3 references to
Gina Riggs, Administrative Associate, at The deadline for
submission is October 11, 2019.

Click here to read the full job description

SUWA Connects with LGBTQ+ Community at Estes Park Summit

The LGBTQ Outdoor Summit took place this September in Estes Park, CO, where 140 individuals gathered to be in community with each other and make space for people of all gender and sexual orientations in the outdoors. SUWA participated in skill-based workshops and listened to outdoor recreationists and conservation advocates tell their stories.

Speaker Abby Dione, Coral Cliffs climbing gym owner and youth climbing team coach, spoke about “being comfortable with the uncomfortable” in her personal and professional growth. Lesbian, trans, and queer national park rangers and conservation corps project managers shared their experiences supporting LGBTQ youth in their programs. And a diverse array of professionals shared their knowledge on topics like nature photography, nature writing, backpacking, storytelling, birding, scouting, and more.

SUWA engaged attendees at a resource fair and showed them a pathway for protecting Utah’s at-risk wild lands. We thank the summit organizers for holding space for this community and each of our LGBTQ+ members and supporters for your dedication to the redrock.

Wasatch Front Supporters: Join Us for a Special Screening of Shásh Jaa’: Bears Ears

Angelo BacaSUWA is pleased to present two special screenings of Shásh Jaa’: Bears Ears, an award-winning short film by Angelo Baca. Baca is a Navajo and Hopi filmmaker, a PhD candidate in sociocultural anthropology at New York University, and the cultural resources coordinator for Utah Diné Bikéyah.

Please join us for the English screening with catered reception (tickets required) at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art or the Spanish screening (free admission) at the Sorenson Unity Center.

English Screening
Thursday, October 24
7pm – 9pm
Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
20 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City
Click here for more information and to purchase tickets

Proyección en Español
Miércoles, 23 Octubre
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Sorenson Unity Center
1383 S 900 W, Salt Lake City
Entrada gratis. Por favor RSVP aquí.