Sep 8, 2021

Utah: not-so-super highway is back from the dead

----- Forwarded message ----
From: Sam at Rural Utah Project <>
Date: Wed, Sep 8, 2021, 9:26 AM
Subject: A Utah not-so-Superhighway is back from the dead

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My name is Sam Van Wetter. If we haven't met, I'm an organizer here in Grand County. I worked for the Rural Utah Project last election season in the south-central region based out of Boulder town. I'm glad to be back with the team here in Moab.

I'm going to hit the ground running in defense of this place that I love. It needs defending: I'm here to tell you that the Book Cliffs Highway, a proposal we successfully helped stop last year, is back from the dead.

The Book Cliffs Highway is an 80-mile highway project that would pave a thoroughfare through one of the largest roadless areas in the contiguous US. This proposed highway is not just bad for the way it will alter this pristine region, but it is also bad for local communities. It gives the surrounding counties no benefits, economic or otherwise. So, after community groups have worked for decades to defeat this senseless project, why is it back?

Hideout Canyon in the Book Cliffs wilderness at sunset, © Ray Bloxham.

It's been resurrected because the Book Cliffs Highway is another grab by rural elected officials to override the will of residents, prioritizing the extraction and transport of fossil fuels through our counties. In this case, it's the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition (SCIC) responsible for pushing this proposal. They will ignore the inevitable damage to the ecology. They will ignore our existing highways that desperately need fixing. They will do their best to redirect funds to new, expensive, and pointless proposals.

Why now? The SCIC intends to fund the BCH through the 2021 INVEST in America Act. This is exactly the opposite of "fix-it-first," redirecting funds from other vital infrastructure upkeep in our state to an irresponsible, unasked-for project.

This project will be a financial, logistical, and environmental burden on rural Utahns, and the Rural Utah Project team is organizing to stop it once and for all. We're launching a campaign to stop the Book Cliffs Highway with a regional coalition of activists, elected officials, backcountry outdoors people, and local ranchers. We want you to join us.

Our campaign logo, designed by Little Canyon Press.

This is where you come in. Like all Rural Utah Project campaigns, our work to stop the Book Cliffs Highway begins and ends with our neighbors. Our anti-roadmap for this campaign includes petitioning, letter-writing, digital campaigning, building a rapid response team, and holding conversations about a just rural transition away from fossil fuels. Will you join us by signing our petition to stop this project?

If you're a Utah resident, send me an email at to learn how you can get involved in the campaign. And, please make a donation to support this campaign and ensure we have the resources we need for the fight.


Sam Van Wetter
Organizer, Grand County
The Rural Utah Project 
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