- Citizens for Dixie’s Future (CDF) worked tirelessly to educate the public and stem the tide of terrible legislation in a 2006 bill that would have sold 25,000 acres of public land for development among many other bad provisions local officials tried to include. Through the public’s efforts the 2006 bill was changed to exclude: any new BLM land sales except for what BLM land already identified for disposal 4700 acres; a right-of-way for the Lake Powell Pipeline; 8% of the revenue from BLM land sales going to the Washington County Water Conservancy; an exemption from compliance with environmental laws; a highway identified by mile posts though the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. However in 2009 there were good provisions added to the bill that included the creation of Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area; BLM would identifying biological Areas of Environmental Concern (ACEC) in Washington County. After all these improvements were made to the bill and it passed in 2009.
- The bill’s provisions now have to be incorporated into BLM’s Resource Management planning documents. CDF made extensive scoping comments on what issues should be included in the BLM’s Draft Resource Management Plan for the Red Cliffs and Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Areas that were created in the 2009 Bill. CDF also nominated several Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and commented on the proposed transportation plan for roads and trails in the county. BLM’s Draft Resource Management Plan and transportation plan should be released for public comment January 2015.
SMART GROWTH – VISION DIXIE
- After the 2006 bill was released CDF called for planning before disposing of any public land for development. Federal and state officials decided they would go to the community and see how they felt about growth and the sale of public lands. The $500,000 Vision Dixie process was started with over 3000 residents participating in the planning exercise. CDF was a driving force within the Vision Dixie process, by providing staff and board participation on the Steering Committee, the Technical Advisory Committee and facilitating citizen workshops for the year and half process. The majority of people that participated did not support a large scale sale of public lands and chose only 5,000 acres for disposal. They also wanted to see growth inward with protection to the surrounding scenic landscapes. After the results of all the surveys were in the bill was changed. We continue to educate and encourage communities to adopt and implement the ten Vision Dixie Principles that were as result of the process.
- In January 2013, CDF started a Friend Group project to support, protect and conserve the Red Cliffs and Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Areas and adjoining/influencing territories. It’s called the Southwest Utah National Conservation Lands Friends (SUNCLF) where volunteers have the opportunity to participate in site stewardship, training, restoration, rock art documentation and outreach projects. SUNCLF works to create a pool of engaged citizens to assist BLM with inventory efforts and long-term monitoring of the natural, historic and cultural resources in Southwest Utah’s National Conservation Lands. In addition to citizen stewardship, volunteers assist in creating and implementing programs that promote natural resource protection and visitor safety using interpretive and education programs. Volunteers have given over 1961 hours (9-30-14) of their time working on these projects. SUNCLF has trained over 54 site stewards to monitor cultural sites since the project started. (9-30-14)
WATER CONSERVATION and the LAKE POWELL PIPELINE
- CDF worked with Western Resource Advocates on completing the Local Waters Alternative to the Lake Powell Pipeline that advocates for water conservation and wise use of local water resources in lieu of developing the pipeline.
- CDF formed the Lake Powell Pipeline Coalition that is a group of concerned organizations that are participating in the permitting process by attending hearings, submitting comments and making sure our concerns are answered in the studies.
- CDF was appointed to Governor’s Water Task Force to develop Utah’s 50-year water plan.
- We continue to attend meetings of the Community Integrated Resource Planning Advisory Committee (CIRPAC) to assist in guiding future water resource planning for Washington County formed by Washington County Water Conservancy District. CDF has a seat on the committee and it meets once a month. Committee members are leaders in community and it provides us an opportunity to bring our message of water conservation to more water managers. We also sit on a water conservation committee formed by the water district to update their water conservation plan.
- CDF took up the leadership of local opposition to the Toquop coal-fired power plant proposed just 30 miles west of St. George near Mesquite NV that has now been scrapped. CDF held many rallies and public events, submitted opinion pieces to the local newspaper and participated on radio talk shows – all in our effort to educate the public on the health hazards of burning coal.
- CDF has joined the City of St. George’s Southern Utah Air Quality Task Force that addresses air quality issues in our county.
- CDF teamed up with the Moapa Band of the Paiute Tribe to facilitate closing of the Reid Gardner coal-fired power plant in near Mesquite NV due to Tribe’s health concerns. CDF introduced Dr. Arden Pope PHD to the Tribe who is an expert on air quality and he started a study on how the plant impacts the Tribe’s health. The Nevada Power Company, the owner of plant is planning to shut the plant down as they turn to more renewable solar energy instead.
- CDF wrote comments asking for air quality monitors near the proposed expansion of the Black Rock Gypsum Mine in Arizona that pollutes our valley with dust. CDF has also commented on new gypsum mines proposed in the area that could put more dust in the air.