Utah Wilderness News, March 2, 2011

 SUWA clearly knows how to make a difference in Washington

“SUWA’s petition here at Change.org asks Congress to pass ARRWA, granting permanent protection to these lands, perhaps the most unique in the country. If you think signing Congressional petitions is a waste of your time, think again – SUWA’s most recent email newsletter celebrates two other activist-driven Congressional victories. In the first, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) withdrew his amendment to defund the National Landscape Conservation System. And in the second, a bill to block presidential use of the historic Antiquities Act was defeated in the House, 213-209. A few months ago, the group as part of a large coalition of conservation groups scored a huge victory when the Obama administration repealed former President Bush’s ‘No More Wilderness’ policy.”  Read more – Change.org

Western Republicans misleading the public on “Wild Lands” policy

“The Republican leadership is beholden to special interests, as it always has been, and in the case of BLM policy, there’s a lot of oil industry lobbying money in play. The stated fear is that Obama and Salazar want to ‘lock up’ public lands, but they are being disingenuous and misleading. These are public federal lands, not the backyard playground of western rural communities, and they’re best managed according to the reasoned plan that Salazar proposed. That includes identifying tracts that have wilderness qualities, then soliciting input from all stakeholders, local and national, before making a decision.”  Opinion – Summit County Citizens Voice

“Wild Lands” policy is a return to multiple use, not a land grab!

“While widespread concerns persist in the West that the Obama administration will use the policy to lock up public lands, BLM issued a final guidance Friday that suggests the agency intends to be flexible in its wild lands management.  ‘A wider range of actions and activities may be allowed in Wild Lands than can occur in Wilderness,’ a BLM manual says.”  Read more – The New York Times

“According to BLM data for western states, there is an average of 1 acre of wilderness land for every 42 leased for oil and gas drilling.  And of the land currently leased (which would not be effected by the new order) for oil and gas drilling, just over 1/3 is actually being used by the industry.  Returning to enforcing existing policy would only affect new land designations.”  Opinion – The SideTrack

Salazar: “Wilderness is not a bad thing”

“Westerners understand, Salazar said today, that protected areas like national monuments, are ‘economic generators’ and that there is a direct connection between conserving land and economic development. ‘We can tone down the rhetoric,’ he said. ‘We in the United States have some very special places — they are not Republican places, they are not Democratic places, they are not independent places, they belong to all of us.'”  Read more – The Wonk Room