Ever wonder what the Alliance has been up to? Or how we put your donations to work?
If so, this blog is for you. As we head into 2015, we thought we’d take a moment to recap some of our accomplishments in 2014.
Some highlights? Eh, you know….
- Shutting down coal-fired energy in the Four Corners
- Winning permanent legislative protection for Hermosa Creek, including 37,000+ acres of new Wilderness
- Continuing the fight against Red McCombs’ Pillage of Wolf Creek (28 years and counting…)
Your support is critical to this work. Some of you have been cheering us on for years, even decades. Others of you are just discovering our dedication to protecting the clean air, pure water, and healthy lands of the San Juan Basin.
Thanks to each and every one of you.
If you find yourself grinning as you read about what Alliance members have accomplished, please consider putting a little extra something in our stocking this year. Help us make 2015 one for the record books.
Shutting Down Coal In The Four Corners
The Alliance helped win closure of 3 units at the Four Corners Power Plant, approximately 560 MW worth of dirty, antiquated, polluting energy. Plans to install pollution controls on the remaining units are expected to reduce nitrogen oxides by 80-90%. We continue to fight permitting that would allow for continued operation through 2041.
Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act Becomes Law!
Legislation to permanently protect Hermosa Creek has passed the House and Senate and is waiting to be signed into law by President Obama! The Alliance initiated this work back in 2008 and we are so thankful for the incredible community effort that made this bi-partisan legislation possible. A total of over 100,000 acres are protected by the legislation, including 37,236 acres of new Wilderness on the west side of Hermosa Creek. Outstanding!
Advocating For Community-Supported Trail Designations Near Rico
The Alliance help created and present a “Citizens Alternative” for the Rico/West Dolores Travel Management Planning process that outlined a balanced solution to trail designation. This process covers the 245,000-acre landscape bordering the Dolores River from Bear Creek to Lizard Head Pass. Our “Citizens Alternative” includes a diversity of trail designation that would preserve the natural resources and attributes of a region that includes numerous Colorado Roadless Areas while simultaneously providing varied and adequate recreational uses.
Enhancing Forest Resiliency
As a lead partner of the San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership, we made great strides in educating the public on forest resiliency and wildfire issues. In the San Juan National Forest, we aided the completion of science-based fuel reduction and forest health promotion projects.
Resolved Forest Service Resource Management Plan Protest; Continue With Bureau of Land Management Protest
The Alliance has been working with the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management since 2007 to ensure that their respective Resource Management Plans include robust protections for human and environmental health. Final plans for both agencies were released in 2013, both of which the Alliance protested. We are happy to report that we have resolved our protest with the Forest Service, winning the withdrawal of tens of thousands of acres of land from future oil and gas development. Our protest against the BLM plan is ongoing with few signs that BLM leadership is interested to resolve the protests without costly litigation.
Oil and Gas
Defending Chaco Canyon
We successfully challenged numerous attempts by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to lease lands adjacent to Chaco Canyon National Historic Park for oil and gas drilling. We developed a strong coalition to protect this World Heritage Site with our work gaining national attention.
Challenging Bad Leases
Many lease sales, primarily on Navajo allotment land in Northwest New Mexico, were deferred as a result of comments the Alliance submitted on their Environmental Assessments.
Proposal for the Dolores River Canyon National Conservation area
The Lower Dolores River Working Group appointed a Legislative Subcommittee in 2010 to develop a long-lasting, collaborative legislative solution for competing interests in the Lower Dolores River landscape. As 2014 comes to a close, the Subcommittee is busily putting the finishing touches on a Proposal for the Dolores River Canyon National Conservation Area spanning from the base of McPhee Dam to the town of Bedrock. The Proposal takes in roughly 100,000 acres and 106 river miles, while including 25,000 acres of designated Wilderness and roadless area protection for the stunning Ponderosa Gorge. The Alliance plays a leading role on the Legislative Subcommittee and is excited to take the Proposal over the finish line and see Legislation introduced in 2015.
A Plan for Protecting Native Fish
The Dolores River Dialogue Implementation Team came together in 2011 to take action on nine identified opportunities for protecting native fish. In June of 2014, the Team completed the “Lower Dolores River Implementation, Monitoring, and Evaluation Plan for Native Fish.” The Plan creates an adaptive framework for water managers, fish managers, conservation interests, and boating interests to target specific opportunities, monitor progress towards native fish goals, and evaluate success and determine next steps. The Alliance played a critical role on the Implementation Team, with a particular focus on how the Plan complements the Proposal for the Dolores River Canyon National Conservation Area. The Plan can be accessed here.
New website, blog, and social media
In 2014 the Alliance took a technological leap forward in utilizing new tools now available to easily and quickly share our work, ideas, and to empower our members. We have a new website (you’re on it!), complete with shareable content, a blog (you’re reading it!), and an action center. We have also harnessed the power of social media to connect with you, our partners, and the media. These tools allow us to educate the community and grow support for the hard work we continue to do each and every day.
Pretty impressive, huh? Just wait to see what we’ll get done in 2015 with your support!