In The News


Facing backlash, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz withdraws bill to transfer federal land to the states

by Juliet Eilperin

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) withdrew legislation Thursday that would have transferred 3 million acres of land from federal to state ownership, citing objections from constituents who complained that the move would limit access to public hunting and fishing grounds. The Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act, which would have shifted federal holdings to state governments in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Wyoming, prompted an outcry among hunters … Continue Reading


Grijalva rallies local communities to fight rollback attempts

by Jennifer Yachnin

As Republicans on Capitol Hill and the Trump administration contemplate how to roll back some of the national monuments created under the Antiquities Act, Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona is urging voters in the Southwest to "build a united front" to combat such efforts. The top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee is set to address residents in New Mexico tonight, the final stop on a three-day tour of the state's national monuments that has included Organ Mountains-… Continue Reading


House Republicans start the new Congress with an assault on federal lands

by David Horsey

Top of the Ticket cartoon. (David Horsey / Los Angeles Times) This week, House Republicans got so much blowback from their attempt to neuter the independent congressional ethics office that they quickly reversed course. The tone-deaf assault on ethics oversight was part of a bigger package of rules changes that included another provision that should also have been stopped, but was not: a scheme to give away federal lands. The change, approved by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives on T… Continue Reading


Rob Bishop Thinks Our Public Lands Are Worthless

by Bill Hedden, Executive Director

Americans were outraged this week when House Republicans voted in secret to approve a rules change that would have prevented the independent Office of Congressional Ethics from investigating allegations of criminal behavior, allowed partisans to quietly shut down any ethics investigation, and barred disclosures of all this to the press. Giving away our public lands What the public did not know was that the 43-page package of technical-seeming rule changes was filled with other, far more damagi… Continue Reading


A Sportsman’s View of National Monuments

by Hal Herring

Gold Butte, Nev., one of the newest national monuments. (Courtesy Andrew/Flickr) Last winter, I was lucky enough to go south for a few days and hunt Gambel's and scaled quail in the new Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, near Las Cruces, N.M. I was lucky to have some of the toughest bird hunters in New Mexico to show me the country, and to tell me its stories-tales of the Butterfield Trail, more than 100 years of bloody Apache raids against Spanish and American invaders, elusive ou… Continue Reading



by Matthew Daly

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress should act immediately to improve slave-like conditions for hundreds of foreign fishermen working in Hawaii's commercial fleet, speakers at a congressional forum said Tuesday. "These fishermen are treated like disposable people," said Mark Lagon, a scholar at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service, who told the forum the fishermen live like modern-day slaves. Crew members earn less than $1 per hour, and total costs for crews of nine or 10 men are less… Continue Reading


Democrats take aim at ND pipeline project

by Devin Henry

Democrats take aim at ND pipeline project Getty House Democrats and tribal leaders are urging federal agencies to pull back permits they have already issued for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. During an event on the pipeline project on Thursday, Democrats said they were heartened by a promised Obama administration review of Dakota Access and a court order blocking its construction in North Dakota. But they said more needs to be done to stop … Continue Reading


Majority of Americans Support Protecting the Grand Canyon with a National Monument

by Miriam Wasser

In an era of hyperpartisan debate, it feels rare for an issue to generate broad consensus or cut across political, geographic, and demographic lines. But apparently the Grand Canyon, one of the country's oldest and most iconic national parks, is that issue. According to a new bipartisan poll released this week by the Democratic-leaning polling firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) and the Republican-leaning American Viewpoint, not only do 93 percent of likely U.S. voters b… Continue Reading


Grijalva bolsters effort to protect tribal sites

by Scott Streater

Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva is ramping up efforts to persuade colleagues to protect an 84,000-acre expanse of sensitive lands in his home state that proponents say includes the Southwest's most important cultural sites. Grijalva, ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, in June introduced H.R. 5556 to establish a national monument protecting lands 30 miles southwest of Phoenix. The Bureau of Land Management has designated the area as being of critical environmental concer… Continue Reading


You can't handle the truth about terror: Column

by Erroll Southers

Another homegrown attack involving an American killing other Americans. This comes at a time when police officers are being killed, government properties occupied, and immigrants threatened. And the response is predictable. We are fixated on a foreign threat instead of the diverse ideologies breathing life into their adherents, and we ignore the fact that American citizens have committed 80% of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11. Before the tragic massacre in Orlando, Democratic Reps.… Continue Reading


After Republicans Refuse, Democrats Hold Their Own Hearing On The Oregon Wildlife Refuge Takeover

by Jenny Rowland

Democrats from the House committees on Natural Resources and Homeland Security this week held a joint forum that focused on the steps that need to be taken to confront violent extremism on America's public lands. The forum comes five months after Ammon Bundy and a group of anti-government extremists took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon and held it for 41 days. The forum addressed the recent threats to federal lands and land management officials, as well as dom… Continue Reading


Democrats blast GOP inaction against extremists

by Corbin Hiar

House Democrats' leading voices on natural resources and homeland security yesterday raised concerns about the threat posed by groups against federal control of public lands and decried Republicans' reluctance to criticize the growing fringe movement. Such groups are driven by "an extreme anti-government philosophy that rejects the rule of law and seeks to overturn more than a century of American conservation achievements," Natural Resources Committee ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz… Continue Reading


House Dems examine right-wing domestic terrorism; hit GOP for not combating ‘growing threat’

by Joe Davidson

House Democrats, frustrated by Republicans who are too cozy with anti-government radicals, convened a congressional forum Wednesday to explore "violent extremism on America's public lands." The informal hearing was driven by the refusal of the majority Republicans to fully investigate the 41-day siege of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon earlier this year. The session also looked at this type of domestic terrorism more broadly. While the rise of right-wing extremist groups was a … Continue Reading


Arizona Rep. Grijalva targets extremism on public lands

by Tay Wiles

"There is a war simmering in this country, centered in the West," said Richard Cohen, head of the liberal advocacy group Southern Poverty Law Center, in a House Democratic forum hosted by members of the House Natural Resources and Homeland Security Committees this week. Cohen was referring to the increase in incidents of violence and intimidation targeting federal land agencies. The 41-day armed occupation of Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and the Cliven Bundy standoff in Nevada in 20… Continue Reading


House Dems to host forum on extremism

by Phil Taylor

House Democrats on Wednesday will host a Capitol Hill forum to discuss extremism on public lands in the wake of the 40-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. The forum, led by House Natural Resources ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Homeland Security ranking member Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), comes months after the liberal Center for American Progress released an analysis highlighting five armed uprisings on public lands in the past two years in Nevada… Continue Reading


Legislation To Help Puerto Rico Manage Its Crippling Debt Advances In The House

by Laura Barron-Lopez

WASHINGTON - Legislation giving Puerto Rico the ability to restructure its $70 billion in debt overcame a major hurdle on Thursday, passing out of committee in the House. The House Natural Resources Committee approved the bill, which would establish an oversight board to help the commonwealth restructure its un-payable debt and craft an economic recovery plan, in a 29-10 vote. It's a significant step for proponents of the bill, who had to write multiple versions of the legislation and abruptly… Continue Reading


Rep. Raul Grijalva: Imperfect Puerto Rico Bill is a Lifeline

by Suzanne Gamboa

Don Young, a Republican congressman from Alaska, summed up how challenging it has been for members of Congress to wring a potential solution from the messy layers that make up Puerto Rico's debt problem. "It's been a headache," Young said in the brief meeting of the House Natural Resources Committee that was limited to members making their opening statements. The committee planned to reconvene Wednesday to go over the bill and possibly vote on it. "Luckily we've taken some Aleve and we'll get … Continue Reading


On Puerto Rico Bill, a Victory for the Middle

by Daniel Newhauser and Jason Plautz

Facing a debt crisis in Pu­erto Rico and op­pos­i­tion from the Left and the Right to a com­prom­ise bill, House lead­ers look poised to pass it any­way-prov­ing that even in a deeply po­lar­ized elec­tion year, the cen­ter can hold. The bill, which seeks to cre­ate a fed­er­al over­sight board to help the is­land ter­rit­ory re­struc­ture its debt, is be­ing panned by pro­gress­ive pres­id&s… Continue Reading


It's our duty as Americans to protect our national parks for the next hundred years

by Alex Honnold

Just over eight years ago, I completed a free solo ascent - unroped - of the one of the most beautiful and challenging climbs in the world: a 350 metre crack called Moonlight Buttress in southwestern Utah's Zion national park. At the time, Alpinist magazine called it "one of the most impressive free solos ever achieved." While I find it hard to articulate exactly why I'm drawn to this type of exposed, unroped climbing, the setting certainly plays a big role. Zion is aptly named: it's a promised… Continue Reading


Puerto Rico bill drops GOP’s wildlife refuge transfer

by Timothy Cama

Lawmakers working on a bill to help Puerto Rico with its debt crisis have dropped a Republican-backed provision from the legislation that would have transfered ownership of part of a federal wildlife refuge to the Puerto Rican government. Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee, the main panel working on the Puerto Rico bill, had originally included the transfer of 3,100 acres of the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge to the territory's government in an earlier draft of the legislat… Continue Reading

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