We’re going to court – Redrock Report January 2013

Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:

1. Moving one step closer to overturning the BLM Richfield land use plan.
2. Let Gov. Herbert know you support a public process for Greater Canyonlands!
3. Utah citizens rally outside of Gov. Herbert’s Energy Summit.
4. If you’re a student, show your support for Greater Canyonlands!
5. Read all about Greater Canyonlands in the news.

Opening brief filed against Bush-era land use plan

Last month a coalition of conservation groups led by SUWA moved one step closer to overturning the highly unbalanced land management decisions in the Bureau of Land Management’s Richfield field office resource management plan or “Richfield RMP.” As a direct result of this plan, world-renowned southern Utah wilderness landscapes like the Dirty Devil Canyon complex (including Butch Cassidy’s infamous hideout, Robber’s Roost), the Henry Mountains (the last mountain range to be mapped in the lower 48 states), and Factory Butte were put at risk from off-road vehicle damage.

On December 20, the groups filed their opening brief challenging the legality of the Richfield RMP and arguing that the BLM’s plan violated a host of federal land management, environmental protection, and cultural resource laws. The matter is being heard in the United States District Court for the District of Utah.

The next week, The Salt Lake Tribune called on the Obama administration to “withdraw these hurtful land-use plans and set about doing them correctly”:

“The environmental groups, led by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, make a strong case that the Richfield plan reflects very little understanding either of the land it is supposed to be managing or of the federal laws, rules and executive orders that were supposed to guide the planning process. By leaving so much of the area open to energy development, and by authorizing what the lawsuit describes as a ‘spider web’ of OHV routes that, added up, would stretch from Atlanta to Anchorage, the agency has clearly failed to do its job.”

Make a call for Greater Canyonlands

Indian Creek
Indian Creek in the Greater Canyonlands
region. Copyright Tom Till.

In December, a coalition of conservation organizations sent a letter to Utah Governor Gary Herbert urging him to “support the creation of a
transparent, fair, public process” to discuss a potential Greater Canyonlands National Monument in southeastern Utah.

Here’s how you, too, can make a difference in advancing the campaign to protect Greater Canyonlands:

Simply call 1-800-705-2464 and tell the receptionist that you would like to leave a message for Governor Herbert encouraging him to create a public process to protect Greater Canyonlands as a national monument.

If you live in Utah, you can also encourage Governor Herbert to begin a public process to protect Greater Canyonlands by clicking here.

For more ways you can help protect the Greater Canyonlands region, visit greatercanyonlands.org and “like” the Protect Greater Canyonlands page on Facebook.

Utahns rally for clean energy and protected public lands

Clean Energy Now! Rally
Photo by Kathlene Audette.

Warmed against a bitter chill and a darkening sky by their passion and esprit de corps, more than 200 enthusiastic citizens rallied outside Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s Energy Summit last week to demand leadership for a clean energy future that also protects Utah’s spectacular public landscapes.

Speakers argued that Utah’s political leaders are selling the state’s world-class landscapes to extractive industries looking to exploit fossil fuels. They pointed to the Governor’s public land grab as a tool to facilitate that energy development – a tool that would decimate some of Utah’s most precious wild places and harm Utah’s recreation economy.

“The single biggest threat to our beautiful public lands and multi-million dollar outdoor recreation economy is our Governor’s one-sided dirty energy policies,” said Tim Wagner with the Sierra Club. “When the Governor talks about the state taking ownership of millions of acres of federal lands, make no mistake: the intent behind this loony idea is to make as many acres as possible available for pump jacks, strip mines, pipelines and roads.”

Inside the summit, Governor Herbert exhorted that “Utah is open for business in energy development.
We aren’t playing favorites. We want all our resources made available.”  But the focus was on fossil fuel-based energy, including tar sands, oil shale and nuclear power. Members of Utah’s congressional delegation called for the weakening of federal decision-making processes (like NEPA and the Endangered Species Act) to facilitate development of oil shale and tar sands.

Students, take action!

Are you part of a student group that supports protecting Greater Canyonlands?  With our coalition partners, we have begun to collect names of student organizations that are willing to urge President Obama to designate Greater Canyonlands as a national monument as part of our effort to display broad support for action from throughout the country.

Click here to read the letter from students to President Obama.

If you are part of an organization that would like to be added to the list, please send an email to Clayton at clayton@suwa.org.

In the news

Redrock supporters from Utah and across the country (and even the world!) have spoken out about their support for protecting Greater Canyonlands in the media through opinion pieces and letters-to-the-editor (LTEs).

Click here to view recent media from Utah citizens.

Click here to view recent media from supporters outside of Utah.

To join our LTE team or volunteer in other ways for Utah wilderness, fill out our grassroots survey!

change.orgSign the petition to protect Greater Canyonlands