Got this from my SUWA alert today. Another bill designating more land as Wilderness, or close to it.
Southwest Utah Lands Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate
SUWA Hopes to Work with Sen. Bennett to Improve New Washington County Legislation
Please click here to read SUWA's official message to its membership on the current status of the Washington County Growth and Conservation Act.
Many of you may remember the disastrous Washington County Lands Bill that Utah Senator Robert Bennett tried to push through during the last session of Congress. Thanks to our activists' vocal support for Utah wilderness, the bill was stopped dead in its tracks.
Last week, Sen. Bennett introduced S. 2834, the Washington County Growth and Conservation Act of 2008, a bill much improved from the 2006 version. S. 2834 contains protection of more Zion-Mojave desert wild lands and reduces the sale of public lands -- a testament to all of your efforts in voicing opposition over the bad public lands language presented in the previous bill.
Despite this progress, SUWA continues to have concerns about several provisions in the bill.
Specifically it would:
Leave some sensitive wild lands and desert tortoise habitat unprotected from off-road vehicle damage.
Only provide Wilderness protection for 47% of Washington County lands included in America's Red Rock Wilderness Act. Click here for a map.
Set bad precedents for public land legislation both in Utah and throughout the West by giving Washington County 10% of the proceeds from public land sales.
Read a more in-depth analysis here.
The newest version of the Washington
County bill would fail to protect Beaver Dam Wash Wilderness Study Area (above)
from potential off-road vehicle abuse.
We will continue to keep you all posted with updates on this legislation as SUWA and the Utah Wilderness Coalition work with the Utah delegation and other Congress members on the necessary improvements. We hope to have good news to report in the future, but we may again ask for your help if an acceptable version cannot be reached. Stay tuned!
For Wild Utah,
The SUWA Staff