SUWA Statement on U.S. Senate Introduction of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jen Ujifusa, Legislative Director,  jen@suwa.org 

Washington, DC (May 11, 2021) –  Yesterday, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced S. 1535, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, the seminal legislation that would protect 8.4 million acres of public lands in Utah as wilderness.

The wild and expansive lands proposed for protection under America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act comprise a prime piece of what scientists say is needed today—protecting 30% of America’s lands and waters by the year 2030 in order to prevent catastrophic collapse of our natural systems. Centrally located in the Intermountain West, these lands are also a vital link in the interconnected chain of largely undisturbed ecosystems running from the Grand Canyon to Glacier National Park, providing important migration corridors for wildlife.

In response to the Senate reintroduction, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) legislative director Jen Ujifusa issued the following statement: 

“America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act is more important than ever as we face the Climate Crisis and the Nature Crisis, as its passage would keep fossil fuels in the ground, preserve habitat connectivity and resiliency, and allow the desert lands to continue to sequester carbon, all while protecting the visual and cultural resources contained on the land for generations to come. 

“We are grateful for the leadership shown by Senator Durbin and Senate co-sponsors, and we look forward to beginning an earnest discussion with the Biden administration and Congressional leaders on how America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act can play a crucial role in achieving the administration’s goal of protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030.”

Signing onto the legislation as cosponsors were Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

Recent peer-reviewed research shows that passage of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act would make a significant contribution to mitigating climate change. Protecting these wild landscapes would keep a significant amount of fossil fuels in the ground.

All lands proposed for wilderness designation in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act are owned by the American public and administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 

Additional resources:

Statement from Sen. Dick Durbin.

Report: The Role of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in Protecting Biodiversity and Mitigating the Climate Crisis (PDF).

 

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