Environews: Literary activists strike again

By Amy Brunvand

Editors from the nonprofit Torrey House Press delivered a book of poems and essays about Utah public lands to every member of the U.S. Congress. Thirty-four writers contributed heartfelt words to Red Rock Testimony: Three Generations of Writers Speak on Behalf of Utah’s Public Lands in hopes of convincing President Obama to designate a Bears Ears National Monument and defeat Rob Bishop’s (R-Ut-1) Public Lands Initiative (PLI).

There is a precedent for using love letters to counteract soul-deadening Washington bureaucratese: In 1995 authors Stephen Trimble and Terry Tempest Williams published a similar limited edition chapbook, Testimony: Writers of the West Speak on Behalf of Utah Wilderness, in order to counter another bad anti-wilderness bill. Senators Bill Bradley (NJ) and Russ Feingold (WI) read essays from Testimony on the floor of the Senate when they led a successful filibuster to defeat the bill, and when President Bill Clinton proclaimed Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996, he told Williams that Testimony influenced his decision.

Redrock Stories: redrockstories.org

This article was originally published on August 2, 2016.