Hearing on America's Red Rock Wilderness Act Reveals Progress in the Utah Wilderness Debate

 

ARRWA Hearing Team
Staff from SUWA's DC office pose with activists and witnesses who helped make the October 1st congressional hearing a success.

On Thursday, October 1, for the first time in 15 years, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act -- the most comprehensive proposal for protection of Utah’s wild lands -- got a hearing in the U. S. Congress (before the Natural Resource Committee’s Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands). 

As expected, Utah’s entire congressional delegation spoke in opposition to the bill, as did Utah’s Lt. Governor Greg Bell.  But, what was noticeably absent from the discussion was a condemnation of wilderness.  Each Utah member of Congress acknowledged the importance of protecting wilderness. This is a far cry from the rhetoric we heard years ago opposing the very concept of wilderness.

Speaking eloquently on behalf of Utah wilderness at the hearing was a diverse line-up of Utahns who demonstrated that support for wilderness stewardship in Utah now cuts across ideological and political boundaries. Those testifying included:

  • Peter Metcalf, CEO of Black Diamond Equipment and Vice-President of the national Outdoor Industry Association
  • Bryson Garbett, a Republican former Utah State Representative, CEO of Garbett Homes, and President of the Salt Lake Home Builders
  • Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson

Clearly, Utahns are ready for more wilderness protection.  A recent Dan Jones poll reflects that 60% of Utahns who have developed an opinion want to see 9 million acres or more of the federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management protected as wilderness.

The wilderness debate in Utah has moved to a new level -- the question now is not about whether there will be more wilderness designated in Utah, it’s about how much and where.

 

>> Read SUWA's 9/17/09 Press Release about the hearing

>> Read Rep. Hinchey's 9/17/09 Press Release about the hearing

>> Read Robert Redford's blog post on America's Red Rock Wilderness Act

 

 

 

 

Activists with Rep Hinchey
Utah wilderness activists with Congressman
Maurice Hinchey.
Activists with Rocky Anderson
Utah wilderness activists with former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.
 

 

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