3. The precedent-setting nature of the Northern Corridor Highway has not been considered


What the Draft EIS does or doesn’t say:

  • The NCH is an acceptable solution despite the environmental impact and the existence of viable transportation alternatives.

The problem:

  • National Conservation Lands such as Red Cliffs make up only 14% of the 245 million acres that the BLM manages for “multiple uses” (mining, grazing, recreation of all kinds). These protected lands are by law to be managed to “conserve, protect, and restore nationally significant landscapes that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values for the benefit of current and future generations.”[1]
  • These are spectacular places set aside by Congress and the President to conserve special features. They should be off-limits to destructive uses like highways.
  • The BLM fails to assess the risks to other National Conservation Lands by undermining their basic purpose.
  • Tinkering with the Red Cliffs management plans to allow destructive uses provides a blueprint for other interests who wish to develop and profit from these important lands around the nation.

Commenting guidance:

  • Red Cliffs is 1 of only 3 National Conservation Areas in Utah and of only 15 in the nation. Washington County residents enjoy the health and economic benefits of stunning scenery, world-class recreation, wilderness areas, dark night skies, and clean air and water because we have the Red Cliffs in our “backyard.” It provides critical protection for threatened species.
  • Changing management plans to allow destructive uses like construction of highways and utilities sets a dangerous precedent for damaging other protected lands in Utah and across the country.
  • It also sets a dangerous precedent for granting additional roadways inside the Red Cliffs NCA in the future.
  • Granting the NCH would set the negative precedent of undermining the statutory authority that designated the Red Cliffs NCA in the first place.

Use elements of the “problem” statements to bolster your points. 

Add a personal note:

  • If highways were routinely granted in protected lands, would you enjoy visiting these places as much as you do now?
  • How would the new highway change your experience of Red Cliffs?


[1] The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 (OPLMA)