Just got back from a great trip to Southern Utah and Northern Arizona to learn more about uranium mining around the Grand Canyon. I’m doing an evaluation of the issue for the Packard Foundation. Below are some of the photo highlights. We took an amazing flight with Bruce Gordon of EcoFlight that included the North Rim, Colorado River, Glen Canyon Dam, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
I’ll be putting together a video soon that discusses the campaign to prevent new uranium mining around the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River, the drinking water supply for more than 25 million people.
The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has built a national reputation for its aggressive public lands advocacy in Utah’s red rock country. To many energy developers, off-road riders, and county commissioners in its home state, SUWA has become a four-letter word.
So it came as something of a surprise in the summer of 2010 when SUWA announced that it had reached a deal with a major energy firm, the Bill Barrett Corporation, that would allow the company to drill a half-dozen natural gas wells on lands that SUWA had been seeking to protect through its America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.
Negotiating from a position of strength, due to its successful litigation and advocacy, SUWA and its allies were able to extract major concessions from BBC, reduce the project’s surface disturbance by two-thirds, and secure additional protections for Nine Mile Canyon, home to an incredible concentration of petroglyphs and pictographs. Striking a bargain with an energy company could also dispel the notion that environmentalists were only about saying no.
In the video below, I explain how traditional adversaries can sometimes reach common ground, even in Carbon County, Utah.