Newsletter Archive

September 19, 2009
Hidden Splendor, San Rafael Swell, Utah

Dear CalUWild friends and supporters —

There’s no better place from which to be writing this Update, given the news this last week from Congress: For the first time since its introduction in 1989, a Congressional committee will hold a hearing on America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. The nationwide citizens campaign that you’ve been a part of continues to move forward in its efforts to protect the wild places of Utah. See Item 1 for more details.

In another bit of interesting news, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the Justice Department has launched an investigation of former Interior Secretary Gale Norton. The investigation is looking into possible illegalities in the awarding of three oil shale leases to Shell Oil. Ms. Norton went to work for Shell shortly after resigning unexpectedly as Interior Secretary. It would have been illegal for her to be having any discussion with Shell about a job for herself at the time she awarded the leases. The investigation began in the Interior Department during the previous Administration, and the department recently made a criminal referral to the Justice Department. It will be interesting to see where the investigation leads.

September 26 is National Public Lands Day. I hope you’re able to get out and enjoy them!

Best wishes,



1. House Subcommittee Hearing on Red Rock Bill

October 1



2. Photo Exhibition at San Francisco International Airport


3. Desert Trips



1. House Subcommittee Hearing on Red Rock Bill

October 1


The Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands of the House Natural Resources Committee will hold the first-ever hearing on America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act on October 1. This is a big step toward protecting Utah’s wild places.

We have two California cosponsors on the subcommittee, and it would be good to let them know of our support for the bill, and encourage them to ask good questions at the hearing.

Grace Napolitano

DC: 202-225-5256

Lois Capps

DC: 202-225-2095

Rep. George Miller is another Californian on the full committee (but not the subcommittee). He has been a longtime champion in the bill and is interested in its progress. His DC phone number is: 202-225-2095

The bill’s main sponsor Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) is on the Subcommittee and chairman Raul Grijalva will certainly attend. They deserve our thanks for their long-term support of the bill and for bringing it to a hearing. You can find contact information for them at

SUWA sent out the following talking points:

– Thank you for your continuing support for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (if the member is a cosponsor).

– There are great opportunities this year from both the new administration and in Congress.

– With the passage of the Washington County Wilderness Bill in the Omnibus Lands Bill and the cancellation of the Bush administration’s 77 controversial oil and gas leases sold at the end of last year – we hope to see more action like these taken to protect lands within America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

– A hearing has been scheduled on October 1, 2009 for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in the House Public Lands Subcommittee.

– We think it is a very important step for Utah wilderness to have this hearing.

– A hearing for the Red Rock Bill will increase national recognition of the bill, indicate support to the Obama administration for protection and motivate the Utah delegation to appropriately address the issue.

– At a time when scientists are focusing more and more on places like southern Utah and its role in mitigating the effects of climate change, we think promoting wilderness designation there is an appropriate action to take.

– We hope your boss, as a dedicated supporter of the Red Rock Bill (if a cosponsor), will attend the hearing and actively support the bill in statements and through the questioning of witnesses.

– The Utah Wilderness Coalition (Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, Natural Resources Defense Council and Earthjustice) are all available in D.C. to answer questions about plans for the hearing.


2. Photo Exhibition at San Francisco International Airport

Long-time CalUWild member Chris Schiller has a solo exhibit of some of his black and white prints of trees at the SFO Airport Museums in the United Airlines terminal.

If you’re flying on United, or have extra time at the airport, check them out! (They’re inside the secure area, so only ticketed passengers are able to see them.) The exhibit runs until December.


3.Desert Trips

The Sierra Club’s Desert Committee has an extensive listing of desert exploration and service trips on its website. Some are Desert Committee trips, but others are sponsored by the California Wilderness Coalition, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, and Desert Survivors.

For an updated listing of outings, visit the Desert Report website at and click on outings.