Red Rock Advocate the CSU Newsletter December 2018
educate ... advocate ... act
A Message from your Board of Directors
As we near the end of 2018 and look forward to 2019, here is a message from
CSU Board Vice-President Art Haines.
CSU YEAR-END MESSAGE
This 2018 year-end newsletter comes at a time that is anything but easy for those of us working to conserve the natural beauty and quality of life that we love. Having served as your vice president for over four years, I admit to feeling hopeless at times. Hopeless about the opposition we face. Hopeless about the possibility that CSU can make a difference. But whenever I begin to wonder if CSU is important to the southwestern Utah community I am struck by one simple truth: if CSU did not exist, we who love this land would need to create such an organization.
While there are several conservation groups active in our area, CSU is the one community-wide voice for protecting our public lands, opposing the Lake Powell Pipeline, advancing water conservation, and speaking out for managing climate change and air quality. If CSU were to disappear tomorrow, the voices in support of conservation would be muted, divided, and at risk of defeat.
In this newsletter our CSU Board President Tom Butine presents an overview of CSU priorities and policies in each of four focus areas. Tom has done an excellent job summarizing the principles we advocate for and the actions we are taking. You will also want to be sure to read the profile of Lisa Rutherford, one of our community’s most active advocates for conservation, social justice and good government. CSU is fortunate to have Lisa as a Board Member.
Our year-end report includes graphs on our sources of revenue and how we spend these resources. Lest you miss the punchline, please note that our revenues and expenses are essentially at a break even, meaning your support is vital to continuing CSU’s ongoing mission.
Be watching for our annual winter fundraising appeal which will appear in your mail box and email box during the coming week. Your generosity will help keep us active in this community.
Thank you for your commitment to conserving everything that makes southwest Utah special.
Letter from the Editor
The Challenges We Face
As so eloquently expressed by Art Haines, Tom Butine, and Lisa Rutherford, we have faced many challenges in 2018 and we will continue to face those same challenges in 2019 and in the foreseeable future. Our struggle to preserve our environment, including our lands, water, and air, is an ongoing one. And while at times, as Art points out, that struggle may appear to be futile, we all need to take heart in and appreciate the significant gains we have made thus far, and allow those gains to inspire us to continue the fight to preserve what we cherish here in southwest Utah. Remember, those gains were made through hard work, determination, and a passion for keeping this area such a beautiful place in which to live, and we need to keep moving forward with that same level of commitment.
Please read the articles in this newsletter to gain a better understanding of the challenges and obstacles we face, the progress and gains we have made, and the reasons we continue our efforts to preserve our environment. Hopefully you will be inspired to contribute to the cause by giving of your talents and by making a financial commitment. We need every voice, every talent, and every dollar.
Change comes slowly, but I believe that real progress has been made and that, although we have daunting challenges ahead, we are on the right track and that we will eventually prevail.
Thanks to all of you for making CSU the foremost environmental organization in southwest Utah, and for being the voice of reason in intelligent growth and resource conservation.
Conserve Southwest Utah (CSU) is a non-profit, grassroots organization dedicated to conserving the environment and natural resources in and around southwest Utah. We support growth that encourages conservation of public lands, water, air, and the enabling of a quality of life that makes this such a great place to live. Our principle tools are advocacy, education, and action. We provide a check and balance, encouraging public engagement and fact-based decision-making.
In 2018 we focused on four important areas: Public Lands, the Lake Powell Pipeline, Water Conservation, and Air Quality/Climate. These areas will remain our top priorities in 2019 and for the foreseeable future. Threats to our conservation objectives will only increase in the near term even with recent changes in Congress.
We believe public lands should be designated as “multiple use,” balancing near-term and long-term protections for habitat and recreation. This includes a bias towards long-term protection and against the most damaging activities like fossil fuel and uranium extraction because of the lasting damage they create.
CSU has been instrumental in designating two local National Conservation Areas (NCAs), protecting both habitat and recreation. We believe that our local NCAs should retain those protections. Polling indicates strong support for protecting public lands in the west, in our state, and in our county. Yet our representatives continue to pursue policies favoring development and short-term gain, which will result in irreparable long-term damage. We have repeatedly asked for a dialogue on the facts, but our representatives appear to be uninterested. We will, however, continue to press for that engagement while we actively oppose actions that are not in the long-term public interest.
Locally, our representatives are pushing to remove protections from our two NCAs, directing that a highway be built through one and that general degradation be allowed in both. Bills have been submitted by our US congressional delegation to make that happen. Our response has been to resolve traffic modeling issues and suggest alternatives to address traffic challenges, but our local representatives have rejected public engagement. We will continue to fight these bills in Congress and to press for dialogue.
There has been some improvement in our water use but not enough. Our water district over-estimates progress and the cost of conservation, resists setting realistic targets, and paints an untrue doom-and-gloom picture of a conservation-oriented community. Although our issues and questions have been ignored, we continue to push for better conservation planning standards and accountability. Simple solutions such as water budgets and highly-tiered water rates are inexpensive and would have a huge impact. We will continue to press for the political leadership needed to make this happen.
Local air problems and our contribution to climate issues will increase as we grow. Our state government is starting to recognize this, but action is still too slow. We must significantly reduce our energy emissions over the next 10 years. Action at the local, state and national level is needed. We have partnered with other state and national organizations to educate the public and our representatives. Utah passed a resolution in 2018 calling for emissions reductions but has yet to act. We are currently working on local resolutions and on a revenue-neutral state carbon tax exchange that taxes emissions in exchange for removing taxes on food and other items.
Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP)
Scrutiny of the LPP is increasing, but most of our representatives continue to support it, giving this multi billion-dollar project what amounts to a blank check with our tax dollars. Improved management of our local water, including conservation, is the only sustainable solution to support our growth. It is low risk and can be implemented incrementally at low cost, avoiding the LPP’s high costs, especially the interest costs. The Colorado River cannot support its existing uses and will not be able to support the LPP. Its viability should first be proven and, due to its enormous cost, tapping the river should be a last resort. Our local water district is pursuing what amounts to a propaganda campaign without facts, data, or analysis to back up their claims. The federal licensing process has become more complex.
We press for a facts and data approach to risk and cost assessment. For the past 12 years, issues and questions have been ignored by our representatives and the agencies pursuing the LPP. We are currently engaging the governor’s Executive Water Finance Board to provide answers.
These challenges are exacerbated by our growth, and if not addressed will curtail that growth. We were very active 10 years ago in defining the Vision Dixie Smart Growth principles, but there has been little accountability to or implementation of them by our local governments. We hope to re-energize this focus next year.
We have a lot of work ahead of us in 2019 and we need your help!
My Journey by Lisa Rutherford
Working in Alaska’s oil fields in the 1980's helped raise my environmental awareness, but it wasn’t until moving to glorious southwest Utah in 2006 that I became fully engaged.
That year I was invited to meet with other citizens who, like myself,were concerned about growth issues that posed challenges to this magnificent area. That group became Citizens for Dixie’s Future (CDF), which in turn became Conserve Southwest Utah (CSU). Having never been involved in water and public land issues at that level, I found the issues to be interesting and challenging.
As a CDF board member from 2006 to 2010, I studied the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline and public lands in Washington County, particularly the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve (now mostly the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area). The pipeline and the Northern Corridor through our beloved reserve are issues for which I advocate.
As years passed I felt a growing urge to speak out more forcefully about these issues. In 2010 I applied for an opening with The Spectrum & Daily News writers' group and subsequently wrote for them until 2015 when the group disbanded. However, that did not stop my fervent advocacy. As the need arose I continued to submit articles to The Spectrum and to the St. George News, and I now write regularly for the on-line Southern Utah Independent.
My advocacy also includes public comments at state and local meetings, public presentations, and media interviews, which give me the opportunity to advocate for water conservation and species protection. My advocacy work has added an important dimension to my life, and this year I rejoined CSU’s board of directors.
Saturday, December 8th - 11 am
Meet at the Anasazi Valley Trailhead
Suggested $20 Donation
Join Conserve Southwest Utah in support of the annual Shivwits Toy Drive. All donations go to providing Christmas gifts, blankets, and pajamas to kids in need. Children served are from the Shivwits and Kanosh Bands of Paiute Indians, and from local Dine, Hispanic, and Caucasian families as well. Shivwits Tribal Council Member Glenn Rogers will provide history and guide hikers to petroglyphs above the Santa Clara River on the Tempi'po'op Trail. Expect an easy to moderate 2.5-mile round trip hike.
Please RSVP by emailing Sarah Thomas at email@example.com
Conserve Southwest Utah "Brown Bag" Presentation Friday, December 14th, 12 - 1 pm
BLM St. George Field Office
345 E. Riverside Dr.
St. George, UT 84790
Bring your lunch to this popular noon-time lecture series and listen as Sarah Thomas, new Land Program Manager and SUNCLF Director, announces the education and advocacy projects CSU is rolling out in 2019. There are many ways in which you and your family can get involved in protecting our public lands in southwest Utah, and all of them are rewarding and fun!
Space is limited so please reserve your seat by calling the
BLM front desk at (435) 688-3200.
Holiday Hike in Babylon Saturday, December 29th - 11 am
#OptOutside during the holiday season to reduce stress, boost your immune system, and make lasting memories! With friends and relatives visiting there's no better time to get outside together and enjoy the dramatic beauty of southwest Utah. The Babylon area of the Red Cliffs NCA is rich in history and biological importance. Over 480 threatened Mojave Desert Tortoises have been trans-located here in the last 20 years. We'll learn about the challenges and successes of our local endangered species trans-location program. Expect to traverse intricate sandstone country, walk beneath a free-standing arch, and have a snack on the banks of the Virgin River on this moderate, 3-mile round trip hike.
Space is limited so please RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you'd like to help and/or make a contribution please visit our website
(link below) to learn more,
or email Sarah Thomas email@example.com she will help match
your interests and skills to available volunteer opportunities.