Utah’s anti-wilderness frenzy – Redrock Report July 2012

July 2012

Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
Taking the fight to Utah Governor Herbert.
San Rafael Swell and more threatened by an awful Emery County proposal.
3.  Redrock champs in Congress step up again.
4.  Potash mining & tar sands — more reasons to protect Greater Canyonlands.


Governor Herbert’s federal land takeover will cost you $$

Herbert Land Grab billboard
One of our billboards in Salt Lake City.

That is what Utahns are seeing and hearing in the Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, and City Weekly — as well as online, on the radio, and on billboards along the Wasatch Front — thanks to our new media campaign.  Created in response to Utah Governor Herbert’s attempt to seize over 30 million acres of land from the American public, our ads encourage Utahns to call and/or email the governor to tell him that the federal land grab is a bad idea.

Click here to view and listen to our ads.

Help spread the word:

1) Share our webpage herbertslandgrab.org and encourage your friends to take action!

2) Sign and share our new Change.org petition telling Governor Herbert to stop his land grab by clicking here.

3) Help us fund the media campaign by making a donation.


Has Gov. Herbert found a partner in Emery County?

As if demanding that the federal government concede 30 million acres of public land to Utah and filing 22 lawsuits to seize control of about 12,000 so-called “highways” across the state weren’t
enough, Utah elected officials have set their sights on a new prize: rolling back existing protections for some of the best of the redrock wilderness — the San Rafael Swell, Desolation Canyon, and Labyrinth Canyon.

On July 16, Emery County representatives presented a truly awful wilderness proposal to Governor Herbert’s Resources Committee, which, among other things, would open areas to off-road vehicle use that are currently closed, open protected areas to coal mining, and fail to protect vast tracts of deserving wilderness.

SUWA, with our partners in the Utah Wilderness Coalition, tried to work with Emery County, but unfortunately, a backlash from off-road vehicle interests caused the county to renege on an agreement.  We remain willing to try to resolve differences between America’s Red
Rock Wilderness Act
and Emery County’s proposal.  However, if Emery charges ahead and succeeds in getting this bill introduced in Congress, we will either kill it or fix it so that it is a step forward for protecting the redrock.  We’ve already done that over a dozen times in the past twenty years.

Read more on our blog.


Redrock champs in Congress defend our Utah public lands

As elected officials in Utah continue their attacks on our public lands, the redrock is lucky to have stalwart champions in Congress who are willing to step up and defend Utah wilderness.  On July 24, 44 U.S. Representatives, led by Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Rush Holt (D-NJ), sent a letter urging Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to protect some of our nation’s last remaining wild public lands from attempts by the State of Utah to claim ownership of those lands so that they can be developed by oil, gas, and mining companies.

Read the press release and see the list of signers by clicking here

The reason there are so many redrock champions in Congress is because people like you have repeatedly contacted your elected officials to tell them how important protecting Utah wilderness is to their constiuency.  If your member of Congress is one of the 44 on the list, please thank him/her!  Just call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be transferred to your representative’s office.


Potash mining, tar sands proposals threaten Greater Canyonlands

The lands to the west of Canyonlands National Park are some of the most beautiful and remote in southern Utah (easily equal to the lands inside the park), and Happy Canyon’s wide redrock valleys are no exception.  Unfortunately, Happy Canyon also has the distinction of being a part of the “Tar Sands Triangle” and is threatened by the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to revive oil and gas leases that terminated decades ago for destructive tar sands development — including leases that are located within Wilderness Study Areas such as the French Spring-Happy Canyon WSA.

Happy Canyon Ray Bloxham
Happy Canyon proposed wilderness.
Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

Looking out on Greater Canyonlands from the tip of Hatch Point is one of the most grand and majestic views in southeastern Utah, but potash mining proposals currently threaten the area.  K2O Utah, LLC, owned by the Australian mining giant Potash Minerals Limited, has already drilled several exploratory wells on state lands on Hatch Point and has now requested permission from the Bureau of Land Management to drill several more exploratory wells on federal public lands.   Before K2O’s 146-square-mile project area is authorized for full development by the BLM, the agency must assess the highest and best use of this magnificent and still undeveloped landscape.

What can we do about all this?  By urging President Obama to protect Greater Canyonlands, we can help ensure that these places will be preserved for future generations instead of turned into industrial wastelands.

Visit www.greatercanyonlands.org and www.facebook.com/greatercanyonlands to take action!


change.orgSign the petition to protect Greater Canyonlands