The Road Ahead: Communication not Construction
BLM granted a right-of-way for the Northern Corridor Highway in the heart of the Red Cliffs NCA on January 14, 2021. This kicks off the next chapter in the saga to #SaveRedCliffs. Conserve Southwest Utah is working with local and national conservation organizations to continue resisting the highway on all fronts. Showing widespread public opposition to the highway is a crucial part of reversing the Northern Corridor Highway decision whether administratively or through litigation. Please join us in telling the story of how precious the Red Cliffs NCA is to our local community and how important National Conservation Lands are to all Americans. Take a picture and tell BLM, USFWS and local elected officials that they made a mistake by authorizing this highway. Join the #SaveRedCliffs social campaign. Click here for #SaveRedCliffs social media resources.
Start a conversation with your elected officials about your public lands
Americans are seeking information we can trust on issues that affect our daily lives, including projects like the Northern Corridor Highway. Though the election season has ended, we want to support you in talking to your elected officials at the federal, state and local levels. Write an email asking the questions that you need answered. Seek understandable and trustworthy information. In the spirit of curiosity and respect, begin a conversation and cultivate a relationship with your elected officials at this critical time.
Tips for writing elected officials
- Look for common ground, state some aspects of the issue that you can agree on; i.e., “Like you, I am concerned about spending tax dollars wisely.”
- Share opinions that are backed up with facts. Offer a calm message.
- Keep your message clear and to the point. Brevity is best.
- Demonstrate that you have some knowledge about their leadership. “Thank you for your hard work in supporting the Recreation, Arts and Parks (RAP) tax.” “I am sure you value citizen input, and that is why I was glad when your city agreed to be a cooperating agency in NEPA for the Northern Corridor Highway.”
- Ask questions rather than just share your opinion. Express your interest in learning and understanding more about his/her position on the NCH and let them know that you look forward to a response.
- Remember that your objective is for the elected official to learn who you are and to begin a conversation.
Conserve Southwest Utah aims to facilitate meaningful dialogue about the public lands, air, water and smart growth issues that affect Washington County residents. Please let us know what kind of responses you receive and how they resonate with you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to see a list of questions you could ask to start a conversation on the Northern Corridor Highway.
Where We’ve Been and What We’ve Accomplished to #SaveRedCliffs
First, we want to thank you for participating in NEPA for the Northern Corridor Highway, or for raising your awareness and interest in this precedent-setting project. Here’s what we’ve accomplished together in the movement to protect the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (NCA) in 2020:
- Jan – 20,000 public comments received during scoping for the Northern Corridor Highway (NCH).
- Apr – COVID-19 devastates communities, preventing gatherings and limiting ability to participate in public processes like NEPA for the NCH.
- Jul – Human-caused wildfires burn 25% of the Red Cliffs NCA. BLM ignores CSU’s request for a supplemental Draft EIS and a pause to the NCH review until fire impacts are understood.
- Jul – Rep. Stewart introduces H.R. 7815 to override public comment and force the highway.
- Sep – 15,400 public comments received on the draft EIS in favor of transportation alternatives that reduce congestion and preserve the Red Cliffs NCA.
- Sep – U.S. House Natural Resources Committee requests that NCH review be paused until unethical, illegal issues are resolved, including attempted routing of the highway through lands purchased with Land and Water Conservation Fund for permanent conservation.
- Nov- BLM released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Northern Corridor Highway, indicating their preference for UDOT’s Alternative 3 through the Red Cliffs NCA, and triggering a 30-day protest period.
- Jan- BLM issued a Record of Decision on the Northern Corridor Highway, granting UDOT a right-of-way to build the highway in the heart of the Red Cliffs NCA.
What’s Next for the Northern Corridor Highway?
- BLM authorized the Northern Corridor Highway in the final days of the Trump administration, and now the dust is settling.
- CSU has many arrows in our quiver. With the Red Cliffs Conservation Coalition, we are strategizing and planning next steps in the saga to save the Red Cliffs NCA.
- UDOT cannot begin construction on the Northern Corridor Highway until BLM issues a Notice to Proceed (NTP). To recieve the NTP, UDOT must finish engineering plans for the highway, identify funding, and resolve issues related to cultural resources in the path of the highway.
- On January 21, 2021, the Acting Secretary of the Interior signed Order No. 3395, a Temporary Suspension of Delegated Authority, preventing BLM from issuing any NTP’s for 60 days.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask us. Use this form below.