So far this year in Congress we’ve seen numerous attacks on the environment, such as attempts to restrict the President’s longstanding authority to designate national monuments, defund Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s Wild Lands policy, and implement wide-ranging budget cuts that would hamstring the Bureau of Land Management’s ability to protect special places.
Now, Utah Congressman Rob Bishop has forwarded legislation that will radically alter the BLM’s mandate to balance wilderness values with other public land resources. Last week, Rep. Bishop and Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana introduced a bill that elevates drilling above all other uses on public lands. Among the numerous anti-environment provisions included in this bill, dubbed the “3-D Energy Act,” is one that would reinstate the 77 oil and gas leases sold during the final days of the Bush administration—the very leases which were subsequently blocked by a federal court and canceled by Secretary Salazar due to their proximity to national parks and predicted impacts to clean air. Twelve of these mineral leases would have been located within the Greater Canyonlands region —impacting places like Labyrinth Canyon, Hart’s Point and Lockhart Basin.
Additionally, Rep. Bishop, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) are working with the off-road vehicle industry to revive proposals not seen for decades. Under legislation expected to be introduced soon, millions of acres of both BLM and Forest Service lands would lose protections that Americans have enjoyed since 1980. The “Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act” would relinquish protections for some of the nation’s most iconic landscapes—including special places within the Greater Canyonlands regions like Cheesebox Canyon, Horseshoe Canyon and the Dirty Devil river corridor, all of which have been protected for over 30 years now as wilderness study areas.
Please ask your members of Congress to oppose these dangerous proposals that threaten our wilderness heritage today!
P.S. Take the next step for wild Utah—join the community of activists who support SUWA’s work by becoming a member today. If you are already a member of SUWA, please consider an extra contribution to our wilderness cause. Thank you for all you do to help protect our Redrock wilderness!