We need your help to protect Greater Canyonlands – Redrock Report May/June 2011

Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
1.  Get involved with the Greater Canyonlands campaign!
2.  Did your members of Congress cosponsor the redrock bill yet?
3. Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt speaks out
4.  Salt Creek Canyon is now protected after a major legal victory
5.  In a disappointing move, BLM abandons Wild Lands policy
6.  Look out for more anti-wilderness attacks this Congress

Get Involved!  Help us collect postcards in support of protecting Greater Canyonlands

People from across the country want to see Greater Canyonlands protected. To show that support, we have launched a campaign to collect signed postcards from ordinary American citizens who love our wild places and want the Obama administration to protect this stunning landscape.

Would you be willing to help out with this campaign?  Whether you think you might be able to collect 5 postcards or 500, any little bit will help!  To get involved, send an email to the SUWA grassroots organizer in your region:

In Utah: Deeda Seed, deeda@suwa.org

In the Southwest: Terri Martin, terri@suwa.org

In the Northwest: Brooke Williams, brooke@suwa.org

In the Midwest: Clayton Daughenbaugh, clayton@suwa.org

In the East: Jackie Feinberg, jackie@suwa.org

America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act reintroduced in the 112th Congress

This May, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) reintroduced America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (H.R. 1916/S. 979), a bill that would protect over 9 million acres of spectacular Utah wilderness.  Currently, Sen. Durbin and Rep. Hinchey are joined by 74 cosponsors in the House and 9 in the Senate.  Of note are four cosponsors who did not sign on in the last Congress or are new to the House: Reps. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), David Cicilline (D-RI), Kathy Castor (D-FL), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).  Please thank your members of Congress if they have cosponsored the bill!

If your members of Congress are not on the list of cosponsors, please ask them to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act today!

“We need you to stand up to this assault as only the President can”

On the 105th anniversary of the Antiquities Act (the bill which gives the President the authority to designate national monuments on public lands), former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt called on President Obama to lead us in standing up to the radical environmental agenda of the House of Representatives, stating, “The best way to defend the Antiquities Act is for the President to use it,” and, “The Wilderness Act is also in need of more vigorous advocacy from its friends, including the Administration.”

See our blog to read the full speech and please tell the Obama administration to take bold steps to protect Greater Canyonlands — a region that is in need of his leadership.

Major victory for Salt Creek Canyon!

On May 27, in a major victory for the Greater Canyonlands region, a federal judge ruled against San Juan County and the State of Utah in their bid to open an off-road vehicle (ORV) route in Salt Creek Canyon in Canyonlands National Park.  The route was closed over a decade ago to protect wildlife habitat and stop engine oil and grease from polluting the stream.  See our blog for more on this achievement.

Wild Lands policy shelved by Secretary Salazar

One day after President Obama proclaimed June 2011 as “Great Outdoors Month”, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued a memo promising that the administration would abandon its Wild Lands policy after anti-wilderness members of Congress pushed to defund the policy in the Fiscal Year 2011 continuing resolution for the budget.

SUWA and our partners in the conservation community have vowed to work hard to ensure that the Wild Lands policy is funded again in the Fiscal Year 2012 budget, which begins on October 1.

In the meantime, please contact the Council on Environmental Quality (the President’s advisor on matters of environment, natural resources and energy) and let them know that this administration should get in line with past administrations, Republican and Democratic, and assert its authority to protect our last special places in Utah and across the West.

Congressional wilderness foes seek to undo longstanding land protections

How would you like to see existing protections removed for 43 million acres of America’s wild lands?

Under a new bill sponsored in the House by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and in the Senate by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), nearly 7 million acres of Wilderness Study Areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management would be released from their protective status, including 2 million acres in Utah. Thirty-six million acres of national forest land protected by the Roadless Rule would be released, and the newly-minted Wild Lands policy, which called for the BLM to inventory and manage for wild values on its lands,would be declared null and void. Finally, neither the Secretary of Interior nor the Secretary of Agriculture could reinstate policies to protect wilderness quality lands in the future. Basically, we as a nation would be done with protecting our fantastic places and focus all of our attention to exploiting them.

Though it’s called the “Wilderness Release Act of 2011,” a more accurate moniker for this environmental train wreck would be the “Wilderness Elimination Act.” This is a bill that’s supported by oil and gas industry groups and off-road vehicle clubs, but rejected by the millions of Americans who use and enjoy these places every year and see the legislation for what it is: an extremist, wholesale abandonment of some of our nation’s most precious resources in the name of short-sighted gains. Please contact your representatives and ask them to oppose congressional attacks on wilderness.

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