Protect Wilderness
  • Petitioned Ken Salazar

This petition was delivered to:

Secretary of the Interior
Ken Salazar
Council on Environmental Quality
Nancy Sutley
President of the United States

Protect Wilderness

    1. Petition by

      SOUTHERN UTAH WILDERNESS ALLIANCE

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December 2010

Victory

In a big victory for conservation advocates across the country, the Obama administration announced it would finally end President George W. Bush's damaging "No More Wilderness" order. Since 2003, the rule had banned the Interior Department's longstanding practice of protecting huge swaths of wilderness-quality backcountry from the hazards of oil drilling, mining and road development.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance fought as part of a coalition of 21 conservation organizations to overturn this policy, and used Change.org to recruit more than 3,100 petition signatures to advocate their position to President Obama and the Interior Department. The controversial reversal was a long overdue step to protect amazing wilderness quality lands in Utah and across the west.

Please send a message to President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar asking them to defend Utah's magnificent redrock wilderness and other landscapes in the West from off-road vehicle abuse, vandalism to archaeological sites, and the drilling of new oil and gas wells until Congress can protect these landscapes permanently under the Wilderness Act.

In 2003 Bush Interior Secretary Gale Norton struck a deal prohibiting the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from protecting lands that qualify as wilderness. This "No More Wilderness" settlement opened the door for the BLM to essentially give away wilderness-caliber public lands to the oil and gas industry and motorized users in places the BLM itself recognizes as wilderness-quality. This includes 6 million acres in Utah; 650,000 acres in Colorado; over 5.5 million acres in Arizona and over 2 million acres in New Mexico.

The Obama administration has the authority to ensure these places retain their wilderness character by rejecting the "No More Wilderness" settlement and designating new wilderness study areas (WSAs) that will provide interim protection to these spectacular landscapes while Congress works on legislation.

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