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September 1996


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"Denise K. Quick" <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 9 Sep 1996 08:33:58 -0400 (EDT)
TEXT/PLAIN (226 lines)

Info on Utah Wilderness

-- Denise

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 8 Sep 1996 17:04:54 -0600
From: Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]

   *************** UTAH WILDERNESS ACTION ALERT ***************


Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 (9AM - 5PM Eastern Time) and tell
President Clinton "I support the Canyons of the Escalante National


Folks --

Thanks for all your calls and notes about the Bennett Amendment to cut
the funding for the planned BLM reinventory.  It's great to hear
from all of you.  Thanks in part to all the early calls, Bennett has
begun to backpedal and may not introduce his amendment.

Which is a good thing, since something even more urgent has come up.

We were hoping to keep it a surprise, but the cat is out of the bag:
President Clinton is considering using his authority under the
Antiquities Act to set aside 1.8 million acres in southern Utah as a
national monument.  No congressional approval is needed.  No filibuster
votes and cosponsorships -- just a pen stroke and we could have 1.8
million acres protected overnight.

Read all the details below, then call the White House.  We've received
word that the president really wants to hear it from the environmental
community before he takes this step.  SO -- give him a call.

The White House Number is (202) 456-1111.  The operators are on duty 9AM
- 5PM Eastern Time, Monday to Friday.  (You can skip the voicemail
pop-quiz by pressing "0".)  Tell President Clinton "I support the
Canyons of the Escalante National Monument".

Folks -- if you have ever wanted to see something happen, now's the time
to help.  Have you ever worked a phone banks, told friends to call,
handed out and put up action alerts?  If so, now's the time to do it
again.  We need your help now more than ever.  We've spent enough time
blocking something bad -- it's time to make something good happen.


        President Considers Carving National Monument Out of Utah Land

        By Tom Kenworthy
        Washington Post Staff Writer
        Saturday, September 7 1996; Page A03
        The Washington Post

        The Clinton administration is considering a proposal to
        designate a huge swath of federal land in southern Utah as a
        national monument, a move that could prevent most future
        commercial development throughout a vast area rich in
        spectacular scenery, coal reserves and land use disputes.

        Under the proposal, President Clinton would use a 1906
        statute known as the Antiquities Act to create, without
        needing congressional approval, a "Canyons of the Escalante
        National Monument" out of land currently administered by the
        Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The
        land lies east of the town of Kanab and southwest of Capitol
        Reef National Park.

        Sources inside and outside the administration said the most
        ambitious of the proposals that are still being reviewed
        calls for as much as 1.8 million acres of federal land to be
        protected within the monument's boundaries, an area nearly
        as large as Yellowstone National Park.

        Creation of such a monument in the arid canyon country of
        southern Utah would constitute the boldest conservation
        initiative yet by the Clinton White House and would burnish
        the president's reputation among environmentally concerned
        voters just weeks before the November election.

        On the other hand, it would further alienate many of those
        voters in the West -- and the Utah congressional delegation
        -- who already believe the administration has been too
        heavy-handed in trying to restrict commercial activities on
        federal forest and range land.

        Extending additional federal protection to such a large
        chunk of southern Utah would achieve a major part, though
        not all, of the conservation community's long-standing goal
        of designating 5.7 million acres of BLM land throughout Utah
        as wilderness.

        The Utah congressional delegation, seeking to end the long
        wilderness dispute while Republicans controlled the Congress
        and four out of five of the state's congressional seats,
        last year pushed legislation that would have earmarked only
        a bit more than one-third that much wilderness. But an
        energized environmental community has managed to keep the
        state proposal from passing Congress.

        Under the Antiquities Act, the federal government has more
        discretion in administering land than it does under the
        Wilderness Act, which specifically bars many activities such
        as mining and motorized vehicle use. Land management under
        the Antiquities Act is determined by the particular needs of
        the resources the president acts to protect, and usually
        allows pre-existing uses, such as cattle grazing, to

        If Clinton approves the proposal, it would probably stop
        development of a giant coal mine planned by the Dutch firm
        Andalax Resources Inc. in a remote and forbidding area
        called the Kaiparowits Plateau -- an undeveloped region of
        more than 600,000 acres bordered by the Paria, Escalante and
        Colorado rivers.

        The Kaiparowits includes some of the nation's richest coal
        deposits, and Andalax, with support from the Utah political
        establishment, is planning to develop them under federal
        leases dating back a decade. Andalax would mine the coal
        underground, ship it by truck almost 200 miles to a rail
        head, then send it several hundred more miles by rail to Los
        Angeles and from there by sea to the Far East.

        The administration believes that under the broad executive
        discretion granted by the Antiquities Act it has the legal
        authority to prevent Andalax from developing the Kaiparowits
        Plateau's coal reserves.

        Though relatively obscure, the Antiquities Act has been
        frequently used by U.S. presidents beginning with Theodore
        Roosevelt to extend broad protections to federal land that
        otherwise might be threatened by development. The act
        authorizes the president, "in his discretion, to declare by
        public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and
        prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or
        scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned
        or controlled by the Government of the United States to be
        national monuments."

        Over the years, presidents have used that authority 66
        times, and have interpreted their power under the statute
        broadly. Many of the nation's largest and most famous
        national parks, including Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon
        and Arches in the Southwest, and the C&O Canal in the
        Washington area, originally were protected as national
        monuments under the Antiquities Act. In 1978, President
        Jimmy Carter used the law to withdraw 56 million acres of
        federal land in Alaska pending congressional approval two
        years later of the Alaska National Interest Lands
        Conservation Act.

        Though the Antiquities Act recognizes so-called valid
        existing rights such as the coal leases held by Andalax,
        administration officials believe the act also gives them the
        authority to deny ancillary permits the firm would need to
        build roads on federal lands to get the mined coal out.

        "The lease clearly conveys the rights to explore for and
        develop and mine the coal," said an administration official,
        "but not an unlimited right to do whatever they please. It
        doesn't necessarily say they have a right to get the coal
        off the lease."

        A senior White House official said the southern Utah
        monument designation "is not done yet," and other officials
        cautioned that the administration might decide not to go
        forward with the plan.

        Among the issues still under review, said one official, are
        substantive questions such as how large the withdrawal would
        be, the "macropolitics" of the decision and the issue of
        timing. The last question is crucial since Congress has yet
        to complete action on the Interior Department budget and
        could move to block the designation with a rider on an
        appropriations bill.

        Staff writer John F. Harris contributed to this report.

        (c) Copyright 1996 The Washington Post Company

This wilderness alert is produced by the Southern Utah Wilderness
Alliance (SUWA) and the Utah Wilderness Coalition (UWC). We are
dedicated to the preservation of Utah's redrock wilderness.

You can learn more about SUWA from our web site at:
Visit the Utah Wilderness web site at:
If you want to join our list, send e-mail to:
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with the word "subscribe" (and only that word) in the body of your
e-mail message.

If you have any questions or problems regarding the mailing
list, please send a message to [log in to unmask]
For immediate information on Utah wilderness issues, phone:
    Cindy Shogan (202) 546-2215;
    Lawson LeGate (801) 467-9294; 
             e-mail [log in to unmask]
You can also phone the Salt Lake City SUWA office at
(801) 486-3161; e-mail [log in to unmask]