Congressman Lowenthal Introduces Bill To Protect Federal Lands In Utah As Wilderness

February 6, 2020
Press Release

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today introduced the America's Red Rock Wilderness Act, legislation which will place federal wilderness protection on 8.4 million acres of public lands in Utah.

These lands, world famous for its twisting canyons and other unique geologic and biological features, are also replete with numerous archaeological sites. The Congressman’s legislation would give wilderness protection to these lands, ensuring they remain in their natural state in [HT1] perpetuity, allowing for hunting, fishing, and camping while precluding destructive industrial uses such as coal mining or oil and gas fracking.

Wilderness is a permanent designation made by Congress under the Wilderness Act of 1964. Wilderness areas prohibit new road construction, motorized and mechanized vehicles, and bar activities like logging and mining.

"My bill will safeguard these wild, fragile, and special precious lands as well as important cultural sites. These national treasures belong to all Americans. It is our responsibility to ensure that our wild public lands remain wild and public from coast to coast, so that our children and grandchildren also may enjoy them."

The first version of America's Red Rock Wilderness Act was introduced in 1989 by Utah Congressman Wayne Owens, after a group of Utahans submitted a proposed citizen's inventory of areas in the state for wilderness designation.

Congressman Lowenthal’s legislation is supported by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance in Utah, the Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Jen Ujifusa, Legislative Director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

"We are grateful for the introduction of America's Red Rock Wilderness Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. Nowhere else in the lower 48 can such intact wilderness-quality desert lands and such a rich cultural landscape be found; unfortunately, this national treasure is currently threatened by rampant off-road vehicle use, inappropriate energy development, rollbacks of national monument protections, and management plans that devalue wilderness resources. Protecting these lands for future generations is in the interest of all Americans, and we thank Rep. Lowenthal for his leadership in introducing the bill.

Carly Ferro, Interim Director of the Sierra Club Utah Chapter  

“We applaud Rep. Lowenthal for advancing efforts to permanently protect Utah’s iconic Red Rock wilderness. This deserved wilderness hosts unparalleled recreational opportunities and immeasurable ecological and cultural riches. Our natural lands are also essential to combatting the climate and extinction crisis. With these safeguards, we can prevent dirty fuel development in Utah’s canyon country, and make strides to protect our air, water, and tip the scales of climate disruption.”

Sharon Buccino, Senior Director, Land Division, Nature Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council

“Representative Lowenthal’s bill comes at a critical moment. Scientists around the globe are warning that we can’t solve our climate crisis without managing our land wisely. The wild Utah lands protected by Lowenthal’s bill are a key part of the solution.  By keeping extraction and destruction out, we save wilderness and ourselves,”

To read the full text of the legislation, click here.

The full list of the bill's 57 original cosponsors:

Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-8), Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), Brendan F. Boyle (PA-2), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1), Matt Cartwright (PA-8), Sean Casten (IL-6), Judy Chu (CA-27), Lacy Clay (MO-1), Steve Cohen (TN-9), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), Suzan DelBene (WA-1), Peter DeFazio (OR-4), Diana DeGette (CO-1), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Anna Eshoo (CA-18),  Bill Foster (IL-11), John Garamendi (CA-3), Deb Haaland (NM-1), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-28), Jim Himes (CT-4), Robin L. Kelly (IL-2), Derek Kilmer (WA-6), Dan Kildee (MI-5), Ron Kind (WI-3), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-2), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Dan Lipinski (IL-3), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Stephen Lynch (MA-8),Tom Malinowski (NJ-7), Betty McCollum (MN-4), Jim McGovern (MA-2), Jerry McNerney (CA-9), Gregory Meeks (NY-5), Gwen Moore (WI-4), Seth Moulton (MA-6), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), William Pascrell (NJ-9), Chellie Pingree (ME-1), Mark Pocan (WI-2), Jamie Raskin (MD-8), Harley Rouda (CA-48), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Adam B. Schiff (CA-28), Kim Schrier (WA-8), Tom Suozzi (NY-3) ,Paul D. Tonko (NY-20), Lori Trahan (MA-3), Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-7), and Peter Welch (VT).