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Two Highways in Red Cliffs?
The Area Where the Northern Corridor Highway Would Join the Red Cliffs Parkway
We Cannot Allow It to Happen!

Now is the Time to End the Twists and Turns of the Northern Corridor Highway
The history of the proposed Northern Corridor highway is one with many twists and turns. Just as any curvy highway can be challenging to navigate, so is this highway’s story. But, with the highway’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) required under NEPA due on June 12 for public comment, it’s important to review the history.  It is time to defeat this ill-conceived highway once and for all.
It began over twenty years ago. In the 1990s, when Washington County was experiencing one of its biggest growth spurts, discussions began about a northern road to avoid city-center exits. In 1995 the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and associated Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) were established in 1995 to permanently protect threatened and endangered species while allowing growth to continue in the rest of the County. No provision for a northern corridor road was included in these actions.  Only Red Hills Parkway and its future expansion were allowed in the Reserve. Other existing roads within the Reserve could continue to exist but not be expanded. The HCP clearly stated “no new roads.”
That did not stop the fixation on a new road by officials. In 2009 a massive public lands bill was enacted, and a majority of Reserve land was included in a new designation: Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (RCNCA). Still, another road was not specified or approved in the legislation. The RCNCA’s purpose continued to be protection of threatened and endangered species, specifically the Mojave desert tortoise, while allowing controlled recreation and county growth.
This should have ended the story but it didn't.   
Countdown to Comment
22 Days Until the Release of the Northern Corridor Highway
Draft Environmental  Impact Assessment 
112 Days Until the Deadline for Comments
The enacted 2009 bill tasked the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with creating a Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the new RCNCA. In 2015 the RMP was published, generating much angst among local leaders, since the RMP’s language did not support a road through RCNCA.  In fact, there was so much distress that a contentious, well-attended congressional hearing was held in St. George in January 2016 to address the matter. CSU board member and former Utah Attorney General, Paul Van Dam, provided testimony, both written and oral, for that hearing.  Thankfully again, the road idea hit a wall in Congress.
In 2017 the county appealed the new RMP, but that appeal was rejected.  What followed were meetings by local officials where a plan was developed to add a new zone to the RCNCA – Zone 6 – that proponents thought would “mitigate” the highway’s damage.  At the same time Congressional members were running new bills in the House and Senate to authorize the highway.  But even in the pro-development political environment the bills failed.

Despite repeated attempts to sidestep local input and sentiment, conservation seemed to be winning.  But now…the HCP is taking a wrong turn.
Since 2015, the HCP has been under review for renewal, having passed its twenty-year life in 2016. And this review has resurrected the Northern Corridor Highway!
Last December, the BLM and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began the environmental review process to amend the RCNCA RMP and the HCP, to include permitting the incidental take of endangered species.  We fear this review will result in approval of the Northern Corridor Highway while other ideas included in CSU’s Community Transportation Alternative are arbitrarily rejected.
Many of you supported CSU by participating in the January public scoping process for the environmental review. Thank you!
The resulting DEIS for the HCP will be released on June 12 (and only one week after the Lake Powell Pipeline DEIS). We will again turn to you for help and we will provide information on how to weigh in. Citizens such as YOU are critical to the process.
As the Northern Corridor highway story twists and turns, it is clear that local officials have just not given up. We, too, must not give up and must have a plan to defeat the NCH once and for all.  You are a big part of that plan. Watch for June’s alerts on how to stop this irresponsible project.
Conserve Southwest Utah
Conserve Southwest Utah
Copyright © 2020 Conserve Southwest Utah, All rights reserved.

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