Durbin Discusses Protecting Wilderness in Utah with Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, NRDC, Sierra Club

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with members of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Sierra Club to discuss protecting lands and wilderness areas across the country.  During their meeting, Durbin spoke about his legislation, the America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, which would protect more than eight million acres of land in Utah that is rich in archaeological resources and home to numerous rare plant and animal species.

“Our public lands are facing increasing pressure, both from development encroachment and from attacks by those who would prefer to see them sold off to the highest bidder,” said Durbin. “We must do our best to protect these wilderness areas.  Today I met with SUWA, NRDC, and Sierra Club members who share this same goal.”

Photos of the meeting are available here.

The lands in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act were selected through meticulous inventories conducted by a passionate group of volunteers with the Utah Wilderness Coalition. The Bureau of Land Management has confirmed the vast majority of the lands covered by the bill meet the qualifications forwilderness designation. However, as long as they are formally unprotected, these places remain threatened by oil, gas, and tar sands development, as well as rampant off-road vehicle use activities that could significantly damage the lands. Designating these lands as wilderness would safeguard them for wildlife and solitude, help with climate change mitigation, and still accommodate future generations of hunters, anglers, hikers, boaters, and lovers of the natural world.