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Public Statements

Introduction of America's Red Rock Wilderness Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, for decades, Americans have been calling on Congress to support the designation of a Red Rock Wilderness Area on the Colorado Plateau in Utah.

In 1984, the people of Utah began to conduct a volunteer driven wilderness inventory of America's Red Rock Country.

Soon thereafter--in 1989--former Utah Rep. Wayne Owens introduced America's Red Rock Wilderness Act.

Then in 1996, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began their own survey of the Red Rock Wilderness Area.

During this time President Bill Clinton, using the Antiquities Act, proclaimed Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

The next year, Senator DICK DURBIN of Illinois first introduced a Red Rocks bill in the Senate.

In recent Congress Rep. Maurice Hinchey introduced a Red Rock bill in the House.
Today, Senator DURBIN and I are introducing companion bills to protect 9.5 million acres of federal land as wilderness in Utah's Red Rock Country.

America's Red Rock Wilderness Act will protect from development one of this country's most spectacular landscapes.

Deep red canyons, windswept mesas and naturally sculpted sandstone formations will define the Red Rock Wilderness Area.

Places like Labyrinth and Desolation Canyons; Cedar Mesa and the San Rafael Swell; and of course, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

All of the lands proposed for wilderness in our bill are already federal lands managed by the BLM.

All of these lands would be preserved for all time and for all Americans--existing as they are--sculpted and defined by the forces of nature and the hand of God .....
Wilderness designations have a strong bipartisan history in Utah.

In fact, in 2006, my friend from Utah and current Chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Land and Environmental Regulation sponsored legislation that created the Cedar Mountains Wilderness Area.

America's Red Rock Wilderness Act will preserve some of the last unbroken tracts of lands in Utah, all while continuing to uphold the land's multiple use mandate under the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act.

A wilderness designation will also allow for the protection of natural environments and watersheds, ecological diversity, native habitat, and a range of recreational opportunities such as hiking, backpacking, hunting and fishing.

Right now off-road vehicle use and encroaching oil and gas development pose major threats to an area that desperately deserves wilderness protection.

A gallon of gas will in the tank of an ORV will only take you so far, but a vote to designate America's Red Rock Wilderness Areas would perpetuate for all time.

I thank my colleagues in the House who have joined me in cosponsoring this legislation today, and I thank Senator DURBIN and his colleagues for their support in the Senate.

I urge immediate consideration of America's Red Rock Wilderness Act in the House.

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