What is BRC, COHVCO doing on the same side as SUWA?

Here is the press release from BRC:

WASHINGTON, DC (April 8) — A coalition of recreational access groups moved today to join a lawsuit challenging Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans covering nearly seven million acres in Utah. The motion was filed by the Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA), Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO), and BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), all trails-based, grassroots recreation advocacy groups. The lawsuit was filed by eleven preservationist groups, led by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Through the suit, the plaintiffs hope to have the BLM plans declared illegal and set aside, and ask the Court to issue an injunction preventing activities authorized by the plans until BLM issues new decisions complying with a host of federal statutes. The lands at issue are located in the BLM Moab, Price, and Vernal Field Offices, which include iconic destinations for all types of backcountry recreationists.

"Our groups have carefully participated in these planning processes," said Don Riggle, TPA founder. "We are far from satisfied with the final BLM decisions, but can obviously see that SUWA is attempting, through this suit, to close off access to even those trails that survived the designation process," Riggle concluded. "Our courtroom relationship with SUWA stretches back nearly a decade, and this suit seemingly breathes continuing life into that relationship," added Brian Hawthorne, BRC Public Lands Policy Director.

The lawsuit was originally filed on December 17, 2008, and targeted 77 lease sales for oil and gas drilling on BLM-managed lands. Those sales were halted by a temporary restraining order issued by the Court on January 17, 2009. The latest complaint, filed March 19, 2009, drops the claims against the oil and gas leasing projects, which BLM has apparently withdrawn. However, the current complaint adds claims addressing other uses, including off-highway vehicle use.

The Recreational Groups and SUWA have waged prior battles over BLM's management of Utah lands, most notably including a 2000 lawsuit by which SUWA sought to compel agency action meeting SUWA's vision of that required by BLM. In that suit, the Recreational Groups filed a motion to dismiss the case on jurisdictional grounds, which was granted by the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, reversed by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, but ultimately affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004. During and subsequent to that case, BLM has been preparing the land use plans and travel management designations now under challenge in the present suit.

My question is: What are they trying to accomplish?



If we join the lawsuit, the rules will be as before...more trails open. We're playing sewers game in that tieing up the blm in court will not allow them to move forward with closures. At least that's my take on it.

If we join the lawsuit, the rules will be as before...more trails open. We're playing sewers game in that tieing up the blm in court will not allow them to move forward with closures. At least that's my take on it.

That is exactly what I read into it too. If they have to go back and perform the travel management plan again, maybe they will actually do their job and consider all the inventoried trails. There is essentially no singletrack (with a few exceptions) open to motorized vehicles under the new RMP. If we win the lawsuit, the old travel plan is put in place until a new one can be drafted (5 year process).



Umm, actually I think the BRC is trying to be involved in the lawsuit on the opposite side from SUWA.

The guesses above as to their intent must be correct, but as a member of both COHVCO and BRC I'm a bit distressed because I've not received any communication as to their intent. Has anyone else?

I'm going to seek clarification from BRC and COHVCO as to what is up.


I've given it some thought and think that they must feel that the best way to preserve our access is to participate in the suit and thereby our interests are represented. Absent that, I'm guessing the concern is that we'd not be involved. I wonder why USA-ALL wasn't listed as participating. Maybe due to $$$.

In order for us to fight SUWA we must first join the suit, this doesn't mean that we are joining with SUWA against the BLM.

I am sending links to the media release that was sent out by BRC, COHVCO and TPA last week as well as our alert which

contains links to a background sheet and question and answer sheet that may explain it better. If you have any further questions

please feel free to contact me directly.


The Alert and Media Release are easily accessible on their website.


Edit.....added to thread from the Alert:

SUWA has incorporated two relatively new claims in their lawsuit. SUWA is alleging the BLM failed to include "quantitative air quality modeling for ozone and other criteria pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act." They say the BLM did not "model air emissions" from vehicle use. SUWA is also alleging the BLM failed to analyze the impacts of oil and gas development and vehicle use on climate change. SUWA claims these activities result in the release of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

No word on whether SUWA will challenge visitors from throughout our and other countries who collectively fly millions of miles annually to visit Utah's National Parks. I imagine emissions from ATVs and dirt bikes would pale in comparison to the greenhouse gas emissions from the steady stream of jets through the hubs and regional airports surrounding Utah's famed backcountry.

I'm totally talking out of school, as I have no "official" word on this.

But IMO, "Our" groups joined the fight because we don't like the outcome of the Managment plans...Same as SUWer

They are suing because they think they didn't close enought trails (all of them) we joined the suit because they closed too many.

In a nutshell both sides are saying the "BLM Screwed this up"

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