This could be the norm if Utah Gov. Herbert and the Utah state legislature get their way. Photo copyright Liz Thomas/SUWA.
Recently, Utah Governor Gary Herbert and the Utah state legislature ran into a little problem we like to call “the U.S. Constitution.” Over the past two years, Utah state leaders have been on a roll passing laws that would, in their minds, overrule the federal government’s authority when it comes to public lands. Earlier this month, the Utah state legislature was forced to repeal one of these laws or face a losing legal battle. Back in May, afederal judge blocked implementation of a law that would have prohibited Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service employees from enforcing state laws anywhere in Utah. In June, the judgeissued a preliminary injunction pending a final ruling at trial. Instead of wasting even more taxpayer dollars on this sure-to-fail court case, cooler heads prevailed and the law was repealed this month.
However, the assault lives on in Gov. Herbert’s Utah public land grab, which includes a demand that over 30 million acres of federal land be handed over to the state of Utah and a slew of lawsuits aimed at wresting control of tens of thousands of miles of dirt routes crisscrossing Utah’s public lands. After the above mentioned law was repealed, notorious anti-wilderness state Rep. Mike Noel was quoted as saying his “horse might be down, but it will rise again.”
SUWA celebrates our community of activists at “Backyard Bash”
Photo by Edward P. Kosmicki.
Sometimes we all just need to kick back and celebrate the amazing community of citizen activists who play such an important role in so many different ways in the ongoing effort to protect Utah’s wild lands. That’s what we did two weeks ago at SUWA’s annual “Backyard Bash” in Salt Lake City. About 100 wilderness enthusiasts of all ages – from babes in arms to those of us more seasoned – mingled and chatted, ate some good food, imbibed our beverage of choice and enjoyed some excellent music (provided by the wonderful band SYNKOFA). As SUWA’s Executive Director noted, SUWA’s members and supporters really are the lifeblood of the organization. They are what energizes and sustains the campaign to win permanent protection for the redrock, and the reason we have made so much progress over the last three decades. Thank you! We wish you all could all have joined us!
The BLM is again wreaking havoc in southern Utah
Abandoned airstrip in the Mexican Mountain WSA. Photo copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.
Recently, the BLM has come up with a lot of bad ideas for Utah public lands. If you haven’t already, please take action to tell the BLM to protect wild Utah!
1) The BLM is starting a multi-year environmental study to consider the impacts of an Estonian-owned company developing a large-scale oil shale mine, conducting on-site refining, and transporting the product to market. It will also look at impacts from several rights-of-way across BLM land leading to the mine site itself, which is located on private lands. Tell the BLM “NO WAY!” You can submit written comments via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or mail (Vernal field office, BLM, Attention Stephanie Howard, 170 South 500 East, Vernal, UT 84078).