Durbin Meets With Navajo Nation On America's Red Rock Wilderness Act, Protecting Land In Utah

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) met virtually with members of the Navajo Nation and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance to discuss building support for Durbin’s America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, which would protect 8.4 million acres of land in Utah that is rich in archaeological resources and home to numerous rare plant and animal species. During their conversation, Durbin heard about the importance of the landscape and cultural resources in the Utah lands to the Navajo Nation and spoke about his commitment to advocating for stronger protections after the previous administration’s attempts to shrink the boundaries of lands like Bears Ears and Grand Staircase. Durbin also thanked the Navajo leaders for their leadership in climate change advocacy and support the Biden Administration’s goal of protecting 30 percent of lands by 2030.

“With the America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act and the support of the Navajo Nation, we can protect America’s remaining wild places and reaffirm our nation’s commitment to the preservation of our national heritage,” said Durbin. “While our public lands are still under pressure to be developed, I stand firmly with the dedicated leaders in the Navajo Nation and the Southern Utah Alliance to preserve the natural beauty and resources in Utah for generations to come.”

A photo of the virtual meeting is 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 for wilderness 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.