SUWA on the Defense: They're Spewing Propaganda Again

Third in a Series, By Toni Thayer


The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), a well-funded and aggressive environmental group, is at it again with their mass mailing campaign to discredit southern Utah elected officials. In Garfield County where residents are all too familiar with the group’s locally negative track record, many of the letters went unopened into post office trashcans or were added as fuel to their fireplace.

SUWA’s Dec. 15 letter, mailed to Garfield and Kane County residents, is similar to another one sent in October 2003 with accusations of improper actions by local county commissioners and Utah state representatives.

In the more recent December mailing, Larry Young, SUWA’s Executive Director and signer of the letter, insinuates that the Utah politicians have played a “blame game” in their responses to his earlier allegations and to those made by environmental reporter Brent Israelsen in the Salt Lake Tribune.

From his Salt Lake City office, Young smugly determined that the wilderness designation sought by his group for the two counties “won’t cause economic devastation. It will just keep southern Utah a great place to live.”

So, who is this urban group that’s continually trying to dictate public land policy for rural Utahns? Why are these city slickers enamored with sticking their noses into southern Utah’s economy? Who’s funding their neverending push for control of 20 percent of Utah’s lands through Federal wilderness designations?

According to SUWA’s Spring 2003 newsletter, key funders during their initial startup days were the Rockefeller Family Fund, Town Creek Foundation, and Harder Foundation. (

Author Ron Arnold in his book, Undue Influence, says that in 1994, the Rockefellers had six foundations with assets totaling $2.7 billion with their original wealth coming from Standard Oil Company profits. Arnold identifies Edmund A. Stanley with the Town Creek Foundation as a former Wilderness Society board member and Delmar S. Harder who started the Harder Foundation as a General Motors executive. (

In his December letter, Young repeats his earlier October warning that change is inevitable as “traditional industries decline and new economies rise up.” He goes on to say that SUWA doesn’t “have the answers to the tough economic questions raised by our nation’s new role in a global economy.”

Author Michael S. Coffman, Ph.D., says Donald K. Ross with the Rockefeller’s Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA, a consortium of more than 200 foundations that fund environmental activism) voiced these same ideas. Coffman quotes Ross, “How are we,” Ross asked, “who have no experience of ever running a business, managing a business, or starting a business, gonna go in and advise loggers who have no high school education and are making $40,0000 a year to convert to some other kind of economy in the middle of the woods that is gonna produce $15,000 a year at best, and expect they’re gonna embrace it.”

Coffman goes on, “Picking up on Ross’ theme, another EGA participant said, ‘If it means shutting a plant down, or it means stopping a pulp mill in Sitka or what have you, that’s what has to happen . . . There are local communities that are going to go over the abyss in the short run. It’s gonna be either a different kind of economy or it’s not gonna be there’.” (

SUWA also works in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF, also known as the World Wide Fund for Nature), one of the largest global environmental nonprofits.

In 1998, WWF formed an alliance with the World Bank, the world’s central bank, established as a result of the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference held at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, July 1-22, 1994. The purpose of the WWF/WB Alliance is to “define a road map towards securing the world's forests and biodiversity” through worldly activities and initiatives that promote sustainable forest management and effective management of the United Nations’ Protected Areas. (

Accordingly, WWF has mapped the world into “867 land-based ecoregions” and produced a report card with each areas’ features, climates, problems and a priority ‘to do list’ of activities. WWF’s Wild World Report for the Colorado Plateau Shrublands lists eight action items to be completed. (#NA1304,

WWF gives credit to “Ken Rait of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance” for Garfield and Kane County recommendations, which are:

Repeal RS 2477 roads due to the counties’ claims for rights-of-way
Control the impacts of livestock grazing
Control exotics plants
Protect Colorado River endangered fishes
Inventory and monitor biodiversity
Protect neotropical migratory birds
Protect threatened and endangered species
Repeal the salvage logging rider
Conservation partners for the Colorado Plateau shown on the WWF report are: Grand Canyon Trust, six chapters of The Nature Conservancy, Navajo Nation Natural Heritage Program, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, and Utah Wilderness Coalition.

Salt Lake Tribune environmental reporter Brent Israelsen received a grant from the Ford Foundation in 2001 to teach journalistic standards to reporters in Bosnia through the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).

The ICFJ is a nonprofit that teaches journalists by “sharing the best practices in the profession with colleagues around the globe.” A few interesting names on the board of directors or advisors for the ICFJ is the United Nation’s International Monetary Fund, the Rockefeller family, Harvard University, and John Hughes, editor of the Deseret Morning News (which has the same owner as the Salt Lake Tribune, William Dean Singleton). (

The Ford Foundation’s wealth originated from Henry Ford, the mass producer of automobiles. On their board of directors are representatives from Alcoa, Xerox, Coca-Cola, National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Rock Creek Group (who’s President and CEO is with the World Bank), and last, but certainly not least, Kathryn S. Fuller who is also the President of the WWF. (

Round and round go America’s oldest industrialist families, disguised as environmental funders, spinning their interconnected web from group to group and nation to nation.

SUWA’s mass mailing attempt is merely a tiny cog in this international scheme of securing the world’s resources, and their work is performed to the standards set by their elitist and rich funders.

SUWA’s misguided fingerpointing, accusations and blame must surely indicate that southern Utah’s elected officials are truly on the right track of preserving and protecting their citizens’ freedoms and private property rights.

Related Links and Articles in This Series:

1. Rich Enviro Group Takes Its Threats to Kane, Garfield Households

SUWA's first letter to Kane and Garfield county households

SUWA's cartoons

2. A Part of the Entangled International Enviro Web

SUWA's second letter to Kane and Garfield county households


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]

Back to Current Edition Citizen Review Archive LINKS Search This Site