Press Release: Sen. Durbin Reintroduces Redrock Bill to protect Utah’s pristine wilderness

Action comes just as Trump orders a review of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

For immediate release
April 26, 2017

Contact: Jen Ujifusa, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, 202.266.0473

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)

Today Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced S. 948, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, a bill that would protect as wilderness 9.2 million acres of Utah’s spectacular federal public lands. He was joined by 17 cosponsors from 13 states, underscoring the importance of these remaining wild landscapes to the American people.

America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act would permanently protect special places managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Utah like Labyrinth Canyon, the Dirty Devil, the San Rafael Swell, and the West Desert, ensuring some of the last, best remaining wildlands in the lower 48 states remain wild for future generations of Americans who own these lands.

The other cosponsors are: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO),  Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)‎.

The bill is the companion to H.R. 2044, sponsored by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), which currently has 30 cosponsors in the House.

The bill introduction could not be better timed, and the lands involved could not be under greater threat. Today, President Trump also issued an Executive Order that would undermine a generation of National Monuments going back to 1996, including Utah’s own Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, as well as dozens of other monuments designated in the Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama administrations.

The executive order calls for an agency review of every monument since 1996 that exceeds 100,000 acres, or any monument the agency deems as having “inadequate public outreach,” thereby putting in jeopardy some of America’s most beloved lands and waters. It is the first time any president has launched such an extreme attack on national monuments.

“Senator Durbin understands what this administration does not: that these lands are one of our country’s most precious and vulnerable treasures, and the most reasonable course of action is to ensure their permanent protection,” said Scott Groene, Executive Director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. “Utah’s wilderness promotes resiliency against climate change for humans and wildlife alike, provides a place for families to find rest and solitude, and represents the highest values of the American people. We are grateful to Senator Durbin and the senators who joined him for recognizing the true value of these lands and for standing up for them.”

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