Federal Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Monument Cases, Clearing Way for Litigation to Proceed
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
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.
Photo © Ray Bloxham/SUWA
UTVs Coming to Utah’s National Parks?
“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
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.”
Photo © Neal Clark/SUWA
New SUWA Podcast: “A Monumental Plan of Plunder”
Our 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for
submission is October 11, 2019.
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
SUWA 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.
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.