In The News

05.24.16

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

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


05.24.16

On Puerto Rico Bill, a Victory for the Middle

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


05.22.16

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

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


05.19.16

Puerto Rico bill drops GOP’s wildlife refuge transfer

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


05.18.16

Communities on the front lines seek help from Congress

U.S. communities that describe themselves as being on the front lines of climate change are seeking help from Congress for relocating and cleaning up after natural disasters. Sea-level rise, erosion and new ice patterns are causing some U.S. tribal island communities to start the process of relocating to the mainland and cities. Other minority communities, particularly in the Gulf Coast region, face the threat of more frequent and severe storms and associated cleanup costs. At a Capitol Hill b… Continue Reading


05.14.16

Obama pressed to create new Grand Canyon monument

Democrats and American Indian tribes are ramping up their pressure on President Obama to bypass Congress and unilaterally designate a new national monument to protect 1.7 million acres near the Grand Canyon. The backers of the proposed Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument, led by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) want to indefinitely protect the area from uranium mining that they say would hurt the Colorado River watershed, spots sacred to Indian tribes and recreation activities. But to… Continue Reading


04.26.16

Tribes, Grijalva ask Obama to protect 1.7 million acres at Grand Canyon

WASHINGTON - Tribal leaders joined Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, on Tuesday urging President Barack Obama to designate 1.7 million acres around the Grand Canyon as a national monument, bypassing Congress in the process. Grijalva said he was calling on the president to invoke the Antiquities Act after becoming convinced that his bill to create the same monument would not get "a real, honest, rational hearing" from a Republican-led House. Grijalva specifically cited opposition from Rep. Paul Gos… Continue Reading


04.22.16

House Democrats Are Seriously Sick Of This, Paul Ryan

In celebration of Earth Day, House Democrats released a video expressing their anger, frustration, and sadness over environmental issues in America and calling for action. "Speaker Ryan, as we celebrate Earth Day, it's clear that we need to protect our natural resources, which are so precious to our generation today and to our children's generation tomorrow," Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), the ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee, says in the video. He and a half-dozen other House me… Continue Reading


04.19.16

Seven Things Forces Opposing Grand Canyon Monument Don’t Want You to Know

Supporters of the monument say it will permanently protect an ecologically fragile and historically significant area from uranium mining, while those opposing the plan say it's part of a "radical environmental" agenda that will only end up hurting the economy. Both sides of the debate have harsh words for the other, but those pushing for monument designation say their opponents are purposefully spreading false information and distorting facts. Here are seven things supporters say the oppositio… Continue Reading


03.22.16

After Bundy Clashes, House GOPers Push Bill To Kneecap Feds On Public Lands

With dozens of anti-government extremists facing criminal charges over their roles in the two high-profile Bundy showdowns over public lands, Republicans in Congress have rolled out proposed legislation that would diminish the authority of federal agencies to enforce federal public lands law. The bill, the Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act of 2016, was introduced last week by Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) along with the rest of Utah's Republican delegation: Reps. Mi… Continue Reading


03.18.16

House panel blasts FWS refusal to use, fund agency database

The Fish and Wildlife Service refuses to use a multimillion-dollar law enforcement records system that the Interior Department has spent more than a decade developing. The House Natural Resources Committee highlighted the standoff at a hearing yesterday of its Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. Both Republicans and Democrats criticized Interior's handling of the database, which is meant to be a departmentwide repository for criminal investigations. Interior conceived the Incident Manag… Continue Reading


03.15.16

Obama Administration Withdraws Plan for Offshore Oil Drilling in the Atlantic

The Atlantic Ocean will remain off-limits to oil and gas drilling. As part of a drilling plan covering from 2017 to 2022, the Obama administration is reversing a proposal that would havepermitted energy development at sites more than 50 miles from the shores of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. "We heard from many corners that now is not the time to begin leasing off the Atlantic Coast," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a call with reporters, citing conflict… Continue Reading


03.11.16

MONUMENT USES: What the stroke of a president's pen has meant for region's monuments

What does monument status mean for a landscape? It's a question that has spurred passionate debate since Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-AZ, introduced legislation to create a Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument. Grijalva's bill would encompass 1.7 million acres to the north and south of Grand Canyon National Park. Proponents say monument status will provide added protections for landscapes, water sources and sacred sites surrounding Grand Canyon that are intricately connected to its ecosystem. O… Continue Reading


02.25.16

Lawmakers spar over meaning of words in mitigation memo

What exactly is an "irreplaceable" natural resource? The answer could have major implications for future developments that affect public lands, waters or wildlife, House Republicans argued during a hearing yesterday. The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations scrutinized a presidential memorandum issued late last year that called on the secretaries of Defense, the Interior and Agriculture and the administrators of U.S. EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric … Continue Reading


02.24.16

Old tensions boil over once more in House hearing on California water

The year's first congressional hearing on California's water crisis incited stern voices and familiar feuds Wednesday, but showed no sign of legislative progress. Instead, for two hours, lawmakers largely remained in trenches dug over many years as they lobbed shells at one another and, at times, the assembled witnesses. "It seems we're so close to a solution today," sarcastically mused Rep. John Fleming, R-Louisiana, the chair of the House water, power and oceans subcommittee. In theory, the… Continue Reading


02.13.16

Oregon Standoff Is Expected to Cost Millions, and Occupiers May Pay Part of the Bill

BURNS, Ore. - The cost of the six-week standoff in rural Oregon will most likely reach into the millions of dollars, with local and state agencies looking to the federal government - and the arrested occupiers - to shoulder the bulk of the bills. The total cost may not be known for weeks or months, but the remote location of the occupation, at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in the eastern part of the state, combined with the complexity of the law enforcement response, suggests an expensiv… Continue Reading


02.06.16

Westlands’ cynical ploy uses farmworkers’ group to curb environmental laws

California is facing a fifth straight year of drought and struggling badly to meet the water demands of its farms, cities, fish and wildlife. We all know what an important role the state plays in sustaining our national economy. This should be a time for Congress to put the usual special interest arguments aside to pass some needed relief measures. Unfortunately, congressional Republicans and powerful agribusiness interests are using the drought as an excuse to undermine the state's and the nat… Continue Reading


02.02.16

How a huge Arizona mining deal was passed — and could be revoked

No one would accuse John McCain of being a "happy warrior." But even by his standards, the senior senator from Arizona seemed unusually testy when he sat down before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on a chilly February morning in 2012. "If we show a little frustration," he began in a clipped voice, "I think it would may be understandable, because we have been at this issue for some time." For seven years, in fact, McCain had been trying to pass some version of the Southeas… Continue Reading


02.02.16

Valdez: Grand Canyon deserves a buffer

Let's be clear: Creating a buffer around the Grand Canyon is not a federal land grab. This is about adding protection to land around the park that is currently under federal control. It is in Arizona's best interest. The Grand Canyon is our state's signature landmark. But the issue is much bigger that any one state. The Canyon is a natural wonder of national importance. As part of the National Park system, it belongs to every American. That's why President Obama should permanently prevent n… Continue Reading


01.29.16

Does Grand Canyon need monument buffer? Arizona commissioners, environmentalists disagree

A proposal to give Grand Canyon National Park a protective buffer bigger than the park itself is spurring a struggle over the land and resources beyond the canyon rims. An Arizona congressman has proposed a Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument covering 1.7 million acres of high desert and forest north and south of the national park. Environmentalists hope that President Barack Obama will treat them to such a parting gift before he leaves office next year even if Congress won't appro… Continue Reading

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