A New Congress: A New Day for Utah Wilderness
Act Now to Ask YOUR Representative and Senators to Cosponsor America's Red Rock Wilderness Act
With the 2006 elections behind us and many new environmentally friendly members of Congress, wilderness advocates have an unprecedented opportunity to finally protect some of our most spectacular and most threatened wild lands. Utah's stunning Redrock Wilderness counts among the most vulnerable public land still lacking permanent protection under federal law. With your help, in the 110th Congress we plan to change that.
Over the last decade, Congressional support for America's Red Rock Wilderness Act (ARWA) has steadily grown. At the end of the last Congress, 160 members of the House of Representatives and 14 Senators had cosponsored the legislation and pledged to vote for it. Their commitment was important because it demonstrated that a large core group of members were behind the legislation, and that they would work to gain the support of a majority of their colleagues when the political landscape changed.
We believe the landscape has changed. Almost all of those 160 cosponsors were re-elected, and we are counting on their continued and enthusiastic support in this Congress. Many of the 53 new members of the House and 10 new members of the Senate ran on platforms that supported environmental issues and protection of our public lands. We will need their support as well. Finally, there is a significant group of returning members who have declined to cosponsor in the past while at the same time indicating that they would vote for ARWA when it came to a vote. We need them to publicly support ARWA now.
We think this Congress is ready to finally pass America's Red Rock Wilderness Act. It won't be easy. Far from it. We still have a long way to go. And the only way we will get there is with your help.
What can you do? The first thing---and most important thing---is to make sure that your member of the House and your two Senators know that you want them to cosponsor America's Red Rock Wilderness Act. Cosponsorship is vitally important early in the Congressional session because it establishes that there is political momentum that other members of Congress can see and support themselves.
As in past years, America's Red Rock Wilderness Act will be sponsored by its champions, Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) in the House, and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) in the Senate. Each bill will likely be introduced in early April, and it's important that as many cosponsors as possible sign on to support the bill when it is introduced. Will yours be among them?
We've updated the SUWA website with some easy-to-use tools that you can use to contact your members of the House and Senate to ask them to sign on as cosponsors. Click here or visit www.suwa.org/ARWA_ALERT and tell your members of Congress in your own words why you want them to protect wild Utah.
Wilderness Week in Washington, D.C.
As part of our campaign to enlist cosponsors of America's Red Rock Wilderness Act, the Utah Wilderness Coalition (UWC) is bringing fifty passionate wilderness advocates from around the country to Washington, D.C., from March 17-21 to lobby for permanent protection of Utah's wilderness. Working in teams of two or three, trained volunteers will meet with almost 300 members of Congress or their staffs to ask them to sign on as cosponsors of Rep. Hinchey's House bill and Senator Durbin's Senate bill. Wearing bright yellow "Protect Wild Utah" buttons, they are part of one of the most effective ways to raise the visibility of the issue on Capitol Hill, and to gain commitments from members of Congress. It's also a fun way for wilderness volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to learn from each other. For more information about future Wilderness Week and Washington lobby events, go to http://www.suwa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=events_wildweek
Wild Utah Slideshow Tours
During March and April, SUWA's Bob Brister will be presenting our new slideshow Wild Utah: America’s Redrock Wilderness to audiences in Arizona, Indiana, and Kentucky. In May, he heads north to Montana. Check out the slideshow tour schedule at http://www.suwa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=events_slideshow .
During the same period, SUWA's Midwest Field Organizer, Clayton Daughenbaugh, will be taking his own slideshow tour to various locales in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. For more information about these events, or to schedule a future event in the midwest contact Clayton at email@example.com