Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

Video series features proposed Bryce Canyon-area coal mine expansion

8:46 am

The Center for American Progress unveiled the three-part documentary series, “Public Lands, Private Profits”, produced in partnership with the Sierra Club, yesterday at its offices in Washington, D.C. Part two of the series, entitled “Boom or Bust”, examines the “uniquely western battle over whether tourism and extractive industries, like mining, can coexist” through the case of the proposed expansion of a coal mine just outside of Bryce Canyon National Park. Citizens of the tourism-dependent area and park staff voice concerns that the quintupling of Coal Hollow Mine will mar Bryce Canyon’s vistas and dim the park’s signature view of the starry sky, and choke the area’s tourism sector. While the federal government has begun to reassess the environmental impacts of the proposed mining expansion, residents of the nearby town of Panguitch remain fearful of the “bust” that commonly follows the “boom” of a mining town.

Watch the video below:

Inspiring words & action from Colorado redrock activists

12:27 pm

On January 26, 2012, redrock activists from Colorado asked President Obama to protect Greater Canyonlands by holding up banners at a presidential appearance at Buckley Air Force Base.

If you live in Colorado, you can sign up to volunteer for future Banner Brigades by clicking here.

No matter where you live, visit www.greatercanyonlands.org to get involved in the campaign to protect Greater Canyonlands!

Terri Martin

Threatened by encroaching energy development

7:15 am

These are the sights and sounds from an oil and gas drill rig on state lands only about 6 miles from the picturesque Arches National Park.  Nearby Canyonlands National Park is also threatened by encroaching energy development similar to what you can see in this video.  Please tell President Obama to protect the Greater Canyonlands region by visiting www.greatercanyonlands.org.


Liz Thomas

Activists (Red)Rock Congress

9:19 am

The redrock is particularly lucky to have a large number of articulate and passionate activists dedicated to achieving lasting protections for Utah wilderness.  Last week, 20 of those folks (half from Utah and half from across the country) traveled to Washington, DC for Utah Wilderness Week 2011 to ask their members of Congress to support protecting America’s redrock wilderness and to defend against anti-wilderness attacks in Congress.


The mission: Convincing Senators and Representatives to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in the 112th Congress, and also to ask them to preserve administrative tools (the “Wild Lands” policy and the Antiquities Act) that could be used by the Obama administration to protect special places in southern Utah.  After a full day of lobby training and learning about the issues in more detail, the activists were ready to take on Capitol Hill, proudly displaying their bright yellow and black “Protect Wild Utah” buttons.

Some of the highlights of the week:

Maryland activist Claire Gardner (pictured 2nd from left) met with her Representative Chris Van Activists with Van HollenHollen (D-MD, pictured 2nd from right), who did not cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act last Congress after supporting the bill in the  past.  Not only was she and her teammate John Hoener (UT, pictured first on right) able to meet with the Congressman himself, but emerged from the meeting with a promise to cosponsor the bill.  Rep. Van Hollen followed up on his word and was one of the first Representatives to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in the 112th Congress.

The Utahns were able to meet with 3 members of their delegation personally: Rep. Jason Chaffetz UWC group with Lee (R-UT), Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT, pictured 4th from left).  Although the Utah delegation does not often see eye to eye with Utah wilderness supporters, the meetings were productive and reminded these members of Congress that Utahns do support protecting the remaining wild lands in their state.

The activists were also able to attend a House Natural Resources Committee oversight hearing on the Bureau of Land Management’s “Wild Lands” policy.  While it was disappointing to see how wilderness foes on the committee had stacked the deck of witnesses against the policy, everyone was excited to display their yellow “Protect Wild Utah” buttons and listen to wilderness champions on the committee such as Reps. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ed Markey (D-MA), John Garamendi (D-CA), and Rush Holt (D-NJ) defend the BLM’s authority to manage lands for their wilderness characteristics.

Overall, the week was very successful and we already have a list of Congress members who have officially signed on as cosponsors of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.  Thank you to all who participated!

You can see more photos from the week on SUWA’s Flickr page, and read about the event from an activist’s perspective on participant Carolyn Jackson’s (NYC/Bluff, UT) blog.

How can you help?

1) Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and speak with your Senators’ or Reprensentative’s DC offices, asking that they cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

2) Go to our Action Center and send emails to your members of Congress, asking that they cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

3) Sign the petition asking Congress to protect America’s Redrock Wilderness:

Petitions by Change.org|Start a Petition »

Jackie Feinberg

SUWA’s Heidi McIntosh discusses the DOI “Wild Lands” policy

5:52 pm

SUWA’s Outreach Director Deeda Seed interviews our Associate Director Heidi McIntosh about the Department of Interior’s “Wild Lands” policy.  Interior Secretary Salazar issued a secretarial order in December that restored the Bureau of Land Management’s authority to protect wilderness-quality lands.

Deeda Seed