For Immediate Release
Erin Allweiss, 202-513-6254 or 202-277-8370 (cell)
Auction Proceeds, But Legal Action Delays Damage to Utah Wilderness
Negotiations Provide Opportunity to Save Utah's Wild Areas
WASHINGTON - In a move that could save 100,000 acres of pristine Utah
wilderness from destruction, an agreement between the Bureau of Land
Management (BLM) and a coalition of environmental and preservation
groups was filed in court late last night. The deal will temporarily
prevent BLM from issuing leases on 80 contested parcels of Utah
wilderness, including land adjacent to national parks, for 30 days
(until January 19). Although BLM will go forward with today's auction,
the agency has agreed not to issue the contested leases. This will give
Judge Urbina of the U.S. District Court time to hear the case.
environmental and preservation groups filing the case include:
Earthjustice, Grand Canyon Trust, National Parks Conservation
Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Natural
Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, the Southern Utah Wilderness
Alliance, and the Wilderness Society. They issued the following joint
"Our legal actions
have delayed today's transfer of pristine Utah wilderness, but the
fight is not over. We will get our day in court with BLM, and we will
do all we can to protect Utah's unspoiled landscapes. Yet President
Bush can still do something to save these areas: he can take Utah's
unprotected wilderness off the auction block for good. This is not a
mess that should be left to the Obama administration."
The case is SUWA et al v. Allred, 08-CV-02187.
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.