Stop the Attack on Utah's Wild Lands

The Bush administration's plan for 11 million spectacular acres in Utah is alarming -- a sharp increase in oil and gas development and off-road vehicle use. It spells disaster for the rushing rivers and rocky canyons that are home to a wide variety of wildlife and a delight to nature lovers.

Your petition signature today is so important. Unless the public speaks out now, the Bush administration will forge ahead aggressively, with little thought to the permanent impact on a fragile, irreplaceable ecosystem.

This administration is on a dangerous course that will inevitably destroy some of the greatest wilderness in our country. These fragile and magnificent public lands in Utah need protection -- not exploitation.

Sign this petition to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. Act now.

Dear Secretary Kempthorne,

I am writing about the proposed management plans for 11 million acres of public land in Utah, and I am deeply distressed about the scale and scope of oil and gas development and off-road vehicle (ORV) use BLM is proposing within proposed wilderness areas.

While legislation to grant permanent protection of these precious areas is gaining bipartisan support in Congress, you are pushing forward with plans that will disturb a fragile ecosystem and sacrifice our natural and historical heritage.

At risk are roadless areas near Canyonlands, Zion and Arches National Parks, with iconic red sandstone spires, 1,000-foot cliffs, high plateaus and meandering, narrow canyons, and spectacular stretches of the Colorado, Dolores, and Green Rivers. Rock carvings in the Price district are more than a thousand years old, and the Vernal district boasts ancient cultural artifacts and dinosaur fossils.

Also at risk are critical habitats for a wide range of wildlife, and recreational activities like backpacking and rafting. BLM found the vast majority of these lands to have wilderness character, and yet is failing to protect these special areas in its proposed management plans.

I urge you to reconsider your plans for extensive drilling and ORV use in these areas, which are some of the most spectacular in the United States. The damaging nature of these activities make them wholly unsuitable for Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, Wilderness Study Areas, and other citizen-proposed wilderness lands.

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