The Keep Kanab Unspoiled (KKU) meeting to update the public on the progress with the frac sand mine opposition went swimmingly! There were lots of smiles, laughter, and audience engagement throughout the evening. Together we raised over $2000 for the cause!
The night began with musical performances by the group, Fools Gold, as visitors browsed numerous tables displaying delicious treats, outdoor gear, pieces of art, and assorted merchandise provided for the silent auction.
The event was made possible by the volunteers Emilie Martin, Helene Jorgenson, and Bobbi & Sky Chaney.
Best Friends Update:
The meeting began with an update from Bart Battista, Director of the Canyon Division of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, speaking on behalf of Best Friends Animal Society. He shared that Best Friends has taken the lead with pursuing the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) appeal, and spoke about the important role that KKU and its members are providing by informing people about the project and risks, encouraging locals to share their concerns, and being active in the opposition to stop the project.
It was noted that other environmental organizations have made BLM scoping comments to Southern Red Sands’ request for improving and expanding an access road on BLM land, and that they will challenge if their noted indirect impacts on the environment from SITLA land use are not included in the draft.
Best Friends Animal Society will continue their hydrosystems analysis and present the results to the Utah Geological Survey (UGS) for peer review, meaning that they determine that the data is accurate and therefore the results are accurate as well.
Lastly, Bart took questions from the audience.
Sky Chaney, president of the Taxpayer Association, reviewed the history of and struggle with the coal gasification plant legal battle many years ago in Kanab, and that this current legal defense will also require time and money– but not to be disheartened because it has been done! Keep Kanab Unspoiled citizen group will continue to participate in legal action but will have the support knowing that it won’t be the only party involved in pursuing legal action to stop the frac sand mine as we move ahead.
Sky then spoke about Bart Battista and James Wendall Head as two new candidates for City Council positions. These candidates both oppose the sale of our water and the destruction of our beautiful red sand hills. He encouraged voter registration and the voting in of these candidates for City Council in November (all current City Council members voted “yes” to the project)
Social Media Update:
Laura Klina, chair for the Social Media Committee, spoke about volunteer involvement with the various social media accounts. She reported that there were over 268 “followers” to Facebook as of that afternoon, averaging 50 views a day, and on 8/11/19 reached over 3,259 people! Instagram increased from 100 followers last Friday, to 483 (Weds). Twitter is slow-going with 10 followers, most likely due to the volunteer being on vacation. Lastly, the Keep Kanab Unspoiled website was noted to have over 256 unique users logging in, most referred through Facebook and Instagram accounts, and top locations where it was accessed were Kanab and Salt Lake City, but included over a dozen large cities across the country. Facebook tended to have most followers in the 55-64 age range and ⅔ female, ⅓ male, while the website was accessed by a younger population 25-34 and a little more than ½ male.
Volunteer Action Update:
Laura also covered the volunteer update, speaking about the 4 committees: Fundraising, Red Knoll Events, Local Business Outreach, and Public Awareness. Audience members were encouraged to feel empowered, more connected with others during this battle, and also hear more about the groundwork being done when they attend the volunteer meetings.
Core group member, Dean Baker, stated that the Keep Kanab Unspoiled group had already raised thousands of dollars through door-to-door solicitations, received in hand or by mail, and donations online through the website. He added that while this is an excellent start, fundraising will be crucial and we will likely need tens of 1,000s of dollars primarily for legal expenses and our media campaign.
Dean then spoke about the new Change.org petition that was begun, and noted that there is another petition active and to still continue to support that one as well. The new petition, however, invites everyone to ask Kem Gardner and the Gardner Company to refrain from investing in this destructive mine, and that this is a surprising contrast from the legacy that they have built for themselves as supporting community and environmentally friendly projects.
Upcoming Events Announced:
On Saturday, August 24th from 5:30-8:00pm Willow Canyon Outdoors will be hosting a fundraiser for KKU. There will be an outdoor prep and cooking clinic, trail food samples, potluck, gear sale, and live music. An silent auction will also take place over items such as an $80 gift certificate for a massage (donated by Kanab Healing Arts), a collection of four hydrosol sprays (valued $40) donated by Backcountry Botanicals, and a two-night stay at the historic 1872 Stewart Woolley House Bed & Breakfast to name a few. The grand prize winner of the Happy Hooligan Tent (valued $380, donated by Willow Canyon Outdoor) will be announced at 8:00pm.
On Sunday, September 8th @ 6:45pm, there will be a “Sunset Celebration for the Sand”. It will be held at the entrance to Diana’s Throne off Route 89, and there will be entertainment by three musical groups, poetry readings, a star party- and cookies! An invitation will go out as the event nears.
On Friday, September 13th in Salt Lake City, Keep Kanab Unspoiled member Dean Baker, and Senior Economist, will be hosting a lecture at the University of Utah. He will be speaking about his book Rigged: How Globalization and Rules of Modern Economy were Structured to Make the Rich Richer. The frac sand mining industry is included in this lecture. All are welcome to attend. (Time and precise location TBD and shared in a future email)
We hope this satiated the curiosity of those who were unable to attend. If you have further questions, wish to volunteer (and be added to that email list), and/or have suggestions, please email us at info@KeepKanabUnspoiled.org.