Newsletter Archive

October 20, 2006

Dear friends of CalUWild —

The 2006 election is less than three weeks away, November 7. Although it sometimes doesn’t feel like it, and the press sometimes says the opposite, this is one opportunity for you to have an effect, by voting for candidates and initiatives that reflect your values. Even if your side doesn’t win, your vote still sends the message that you care about an issue and furthermore, that you care about representative democracy. Even if you cast a blank ballot on some issues or candidates, please go to your polling place or vote absentee. The deadline for registering to vote in California is Monday, October 23. You can download a registration form by following the instructions on this page.

From CalUWild’s standpoint, there are several issues of particular importance in California this Fall: Propositions 87 (the Alternative Energy Research Tax), 89 (Campaign Financing), and 90 (Private Property Rights Initiative). We support 87 & 89 and oppose 90.

Briefly: Prop. 87 would levy a tax on oil produced in California that would fund research into alternative energy sources, leading to a (hopefully) saner energy policy and remove some of the pressure to develop public lands. Prop. 89 would establish public funding for campaigns in California, removing some incentives for undue political influence.

We oppose Prop. 90 strongly. It was crafted in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on eminent domain, whereby government could use its powers to support commercial development as a “public purpose” (as opposed to a park or school or new roadway). No one objects to that aspect, but Prop 90 further requires governments to reimburse property owners when government regulation reduces the value of property. This could play havoc with all sorts of environmental protection laws such as zoning, endangered species protection, or dealing with inholdings. Naturally, the proposal does not require a tax increase when government regulation increases the value of a piece of property.

Please read your voter pamphlet for more details.

In other news, the U.S population reportedly hit 300 million this week. Although much of the reporting in the press seemed almost celebratory, it was not good news from the perspective of wilderness and environment. A larger population will require even more wilderness, but at the same time, both direct and indirect pressures on wilderness will increase: there are more people who will want to visit wild areas, but at the same time, more land will be required to house people and provide food and other resources, creating incentives to stop designating wilderness areas or to de-designate existing ones. It’s an issue we will not be able to ignore much longer.

Thanks for your support of our American wildlands, and now, on to the news—there’s a lot to report this month and a couple of ACTION ITEMS, too.

Best wishes,


1. Washington County Growth Bill Heads for Senate Hearing
Letters & Phone Calls Needed
2. BLM Closes Areas Around Factory Butte to ORVs
3. No-Wilderness Policy Upheld

4. North Coast Wilderness Bill Passes
5. Rep. Bono Introduces Wilderness Bill in Her District

6. Dr. Edgar Wayburn Turns 100
7. Roadless Rule Reinstated
8. Court Voids Lethal Wolf Control
9. Courts Irked by Administration Policies

10. Great Old Broads Annual Online Auction
11. SUWA Job Opening in DC


1. Washington County Growth Bill Heads for Senate Hearing
Letters & Phone Calls Needed

We just learned today that the deadline is Monday Oct. 23 for Rep. Hinchey’s letter. Please call your representative first thing Monday morning.

As we’ve reported before, Utah’s Sen. Bob Bennett (R) and Rep. Jim Matheson (D) are the chief sponsors of a highly objectionable piece of legislation. Titled the Washington County Growth and Conservation Act of 2006 (S.3636 / H.R. 5679), the bill deals with wilderness and public lands around St. George, Utah. This is one of the fastest growing areas in the nation and the average water consumption there is several times the national average. The bill includes the following provisions:

1. Up to 24,000 acres of public land to be given away or auctioned off.

2. The resulting revenue would be used to fund local county services instead of conservation purposes.

3. Inadequate amount of wilderness protected. And much of that wilderness to be designated is already protected in Zion National Park.

4. Creates a fragmented system of rights of way for roads and power and water lines.

The sponsors of the bill say they’ll push for its passage during Congress’s upcoming “lame duck” session after the election. The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will be holding hearings on November 16. So strong opposition to the bill is now more important than ever.

There is also a chance that the Washington County bill will be joined with other wilderness bills into an “omnibus” package. Those other bills also contain troublesome provisions, so any omnibus bill should also be opposed.

America’s Redrock Wilderness Act (ARWA) is the Utah wilderness bill supported by most of the environmental community. Its chief sponsors in the Senate and House are currently circulating letters to their colleagues who are cosponsors of ARWA, opposing the Washington County bill. Please also call Sen. Barbara Boxer, asking her to sign onto Sen. Dick Durbin’s letter.

202-224-3553 (DC)
415-403-0100 (SF)
213-894-5000 (LA)
916-448-2787 (Sacramento)
559-497-5109 (Fresno)
619-239-5719 (SD)
909-888-8525 (San Bernardino)

The following California House members are cosponsors. Please call them, thank them for their support of Utah’s redrock wilderness, and ask them to sign onto Rep. Maurice Hinchey’s letter.

Mike Thompson (D-1) 202-225-3311
Doris Matsui (D-5) 202-225-7163
Lynne Woolsey (D-6) 202-225-5161
George Miller (D-7) 202-225-2095
Barbara Lee (D-9) 202-225-2661
Ellen Tauscher (D-10) 202-225-1880
Tom Lantos (D-12) 202-225-3531
Anna Eshoo (D-14) 202-225-8104
Mike Honda (D-15) 202-225-2631
Zoe Lofgren (D-16) 202-225-3072
Lois Capps (D-23) 202-225-3601
Brad Sherman (D-27) 202-225-5911
Howard Berman (D-28) 202-225-4695
Adam Schiff (D-29) 202-225-4176
Henry Waxman (D-30) 202-225-3976
Xavier Becerra (D-31) 202-225-6235
Hilda Solis (D-32) 202-225-5464
Diane Watson (D-33) 202-225-7084
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-34) 202-225-1766
Jane Harman (D-35) 202-225-8220
Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-37) 202-225-7924
Linda Sanchez (D-39) 202-225-6676
Loretta Sanchez (D-47) 202-225-2965
Bob Filner (D-51) 202-225-8045
Susan Davis (D-53) 202-225-2040

The following California representatives are already signed onto the letter. Please call with your thanks!

Pete Stark (D-13) 202-225-5065
Sam Farr (D-17) 202-225-2861
Maxine Waters (D-35) 202-225-2201
Grace Napolitano (D-38) 202-225-5256

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) is a member of the Senate ENR committee. Now is the perfect time to contact her, asking her to oppose the bill at the hearing or any omnibus package. You can fax her in Washington, DC:


Or, you can phone her at:

202-224-3841 (DC)
415-393-0707 (SF)
310-914-7300 (LA)
619-231-9712 (SD)
559-485-7430 (Fresno)

2. BLM Closes Areas Around Factory Butte to ORVs

In response to a petition filed by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and the Friends of Factory Butte, the Richfield, UT office of the BLM has imposed travel restrictions on the area around Factory Butte, between Capitol Reef National Park and Hanksville. Long an area favored by off-road vehicle (ORV/OHV/ATV) enthusiasts, the landscape is actually quite fragile, and BLM’s actions were taken specifically to protect two species of endangered cactus. BLM did leave a heavily used area open to unrestricted ORV use. Predictably, the ORV and other access groups were outraged. Please send letters of thanks to:

Cornell Christensen
Manager, BLM Richfield Field Office
150 East 900 North
Richfield, UT 84701

3. No-Wilderness Policy Upheld

A federal judge in Salt Lake City ruled last month that the agreement between then Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Utah’s then-Governor Mike Leavitt was legal. The judge ruled that the plaintiffs in the case had not been able to show that existing wilderness study areas (WSAs) would be damaged by the agreement. Of course, that was not the argument in the case. Rather, the plaintiffs argued that the BLM had a duty to continue inventorying lands under its management for wilderness character. The case will probably be appealed to the 10th Circuit in Denver.

4. North Coast Wilderness Bill Passes

On Tuesday of this week, the White House signed the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, the bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-1) and a part of Sen. Barbara Boxer’s California Wild Heritage Act. Sen. Dianne Feinstein helped shepherd the bill through the Senate.

The bill sets aside nearly 275,000 acres in Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, and Napa Counties, protecting their outstanding wilderness values: solitude, wildlife habitat, including for endangered species, a wild and scenic river (portions of Black Butte Creek), and the Lost Coast, the longest undeveloped piece of coastline in the Lower 48.

The bill had the support of many local government officials and businesses, all of whom contributed efforts to securing its passage.

Please send letters or make phone calls of thanks to Rep. Thompson, Sen. Boxer, and Sen. Feinstein (phone numbers in Item 1). In addition, it’s not a bad idea to thank Pres. Bush for signing the bill, too. His address and phone number are:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

5. Rep. Bono Introduces Wilderness Bill in Her District

Last month, Rep. Mary Bono (R-45) introduced H.R. 6270, a bill to designate wilderness in Riverside County. Although the bill has very little chance of passage in the current Congress, it is a strong signal from Rep. Bono that she wants it considered in the 110th Congress, which will convene in 2007.

The bill would designate areas in Joshua Tree National Park, add about 1,950 acres to the Agua Tibia Wilderness in the Cleveland National Forest and on BLM lands, and designate 7,131 acres on Cahuilla Mountain in the San Bernardino National Forest, and 21,760 acres there as the South Fork San Jacinto wilderness. Another 16,700 acres on Beauty Mountain on BLM lands would be designated as wilderness. Finally, 31 miles of the North Fork San Jacinto River, Bautista Creek and Palm Canyon would be recognized as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

We’ll keep you posted on the bill’s progress.

6. Dr. Edgar Wayburn Turns 100

One of the giants of the wilderness and conservation community turned 100 on the 17th of last month. Dr. Wayburn, longtime member and leader of the Sierra Club, made as his goal the preservation of Alaska, the California redwoods, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and many other areas as well.

For his efforts, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999 by Bill Clinton.

There is a lot worth knowing about Dr. Wayburn, and the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a profile on him and printed a letter to the editor (seventh letter down) from CalUWild, in response.

Dr. Wayburn is one of the original members of CalUWild’s Advisory Board, and we’re proud to know and work with him. We wish him continued health!

7. Roadless Rule Reinstated

Last month a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that the Administration had illegally promulgated its substitute for the Clinton-era Roadless Policy. Instead of a policy that would be effective nationwide, the administration decided to substitute a state-by-state approach, whereby Washington would still have the final say in any petition.

The original Roadless Rule was the subject of one of the most comprehensive public comment processes in administrative history. Yet the Administration decided to reverse it. A federal court in Wyoming had upheld the Bush policy, but the latest ruling applies nation-wide.

The plaintiffs in the case included our friends at The Wilderness Society, California Wilderness Coalition, Northcoast Environmental Center, Oregon Natural Resources Council Fund, Siskiyou Regional Education Project, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Sierra Club, Biological Diversity, and Defenders of Wildlife, in addition to the states of California, Oregon, New Mexico, and Washington.

Whether the new ruling is retroactive and how it will be implemented is still the subject of debate. We’ll keep you posted.

8. Forest Service Drops Idaho Wolf Control (For Now)

Wilderness Watch reports that the Idaho Dept. of Fish & Game has dropped its request to use helicopters in wilderness areas to dart and collar wolves. In addition the US Forest Service turned down IDFG’s proposal to kill off two-thirds of northern Idaho’s wolf population.

CalUWild submitted comments last December on behalf of all our members objecting strenuously to the helicopters in wilderness proposal. We stated:

This represents a direct violation of the Wilderness Act of 1964 for several reasons. Helicopters do not belong in wilderness, as they are considered mechanical transport. The Forest Service has not demonstrated any need for the use of helicopters. The proposed wolf collaring is a routine operation, and there is no emergency requiring their use.

But we also object to the uses the helicopters would be put to in addition to their presence. Wildlife populations, both their numbers and behavior, unhindered by human interference, are one of the hallmarks of wilderness. The collaring and manipulating of wolves interferes at a very basic level with wilderness character. This project should not be allowed to proceed, with or without the use of helicopters.

We’re happy to see some success.

9. Courts Annoyed by Administration Policies

The Washington Post reported two weeks ago on a string of decisions in which federal courts had openly criticized the Administration for it failure to enforce the nation’s environmental statutes. This is a quite unusual occurrence, because courts generally don’t want to interfere directly in the political affairs of the other two branches of government. The fact that judges have openly begun criticizing the Administration shows that they feel the administration’s motives in these cases are suspect.

Some of the cases the Post reports on include the Roadless Rule (see Item 7), logging in Giant Sequoia National Monument (see last month’s Update), and salmon restoration on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

It’s interesting to see that there is a growing, vocal backlash against the current Administration’s policies on many fronts.

10. Great Old Broads Annual Online Auction

Our “sister” organization, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, is hosting its annual fundraiser, an online auction, full of exciting and interesting items. We’re happy to pass along the announcement!

Support Wilderness Work through Wild for Wilderness Auction

Just in time for your holiday shopping or a bit of self-indulgence, Great Old Broads for Wilderness is hosting a Wild for Wilderness Auction online auction fundraiser. Here’s your chance to make shopping both easy and meaningful, because 100% of the auction monies raised will be used to support Great Old Broads’ important wilderness advocacy work.

The auction includes over 150 items and experiences, from outdoor gear to artwork to exciting adventure trips and vacation stays such as a night at the El Dorado Hotel with dinner for two in Sonoma’s historic district, a weekend sightseeing in San Francisco or Washington, D.C. or any of a wonderful selection of bed & breakfast stays. If getting out into the wild is more your style, you won’t want to miss trips like canoeing Labyrinth Canyon on Utah’s Green River, kayaking the Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands or backpacking and fly fishing in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness. All of these fabulous experiences and more, are up for auction during the Great Old Broads for Wilderness online auction fundraiser. There’s no need to drive to the mall or hassle with the crowds. Just surf your way through their many fine selections, point and click!

Great Old Broads for Wilderness Wild for Wilderness Online Auction runs from October 27 –November 19, 2006. Bid on great auction items and support a good cause at the same time! If you have questions contact or call our Durango, CO office at 970-385-9577.

11. SUWA Job Opening in DC

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has a position for a legislative assistant open in Washington, DC.

Justin Allegro has filled the position very ably for the last couple of years. It has been a pleasure working with Justin, and we wish him luck in his new endeavors!

Here is SUWA’s announcement:


Title: Legislative Assistant
Location: Washington, DC Office
Reports to: Executive Director and Legislative Director
Status: Full-time
Salary: Commensurate with a candidate’s relevant professional experience.
To Apply: Submit resume, cover letter, writing sample, and three references to
Deadline: November 3rd, 2006


The Legislative Assistant works closely with the Legislative Director and Executive Director to advance SUWA’s goal of protecting Utah wilderness. This person also plays a critical role in the success of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance’s congressional and administrative efforts. The Legislative Assistant will regularly lobby Congress on behalf of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, analyze legislation, develop educational materials for Congress and the public, and coordinate with SUWA staff in Utah and other wilderness advocacy organizations.

This is an entry-level legislative assistant position. A competitive benefits package includes health care coverage, a retirement plan, and paid vacation and sick days. Opportunities for travel and additional training are available.


To effectively perform this role, this person must possess strong communication and writing skills, the ability to work in teams, and should be self-motivated and committed to the preservation of wilderness. Experience in environmental/wilderness issues strongly preferred. Experience with the legislative process and Congress is preferred, but not required.


• Assist Legislative Director in daily tasks as well as implementing SUWA’s broader legislative strategies.

• Lobby members of the House of Representatives and Senate to gather cosponsors for Utah wilderness legislation and defend against harmful legislation.

• Work to achieve proper interim administrative protections for lands included in Utah Wilderness Coalition’s wilderness proposal, in order to ensure their wilderness suitability for eventual designation.

• Help organize activist trainings and lobby days in Washington, one or two times per year, working with SUWA grassroots staff.

• Coordinate closely with SUWA staff on wilderness legislation, public land reform measures, and relevant administrative actions, to achieve the goals of the organization.

• Coordinate with other wilderness advocacy and environmental groups in Washington to elevate the Utah wilderness issue nationally and defend against administrative or legislative action harmful to Utah’s wild lands.

• Prepare and deliver materials to Congress.

• Help with office administrative tasks.