Opinion Pieces


With Hammond pardons, did Donald Trump write a blank check to anti-government extremists?

by Rep. Raul M. Grijalva

Anti-government extremists disguising themselves as populists have already latched on to President Donald Trump's July 10 pardon of Dwight and Steven Hammond, a father-and-son ranching duo who set fire to federal lands, to argue that attacking public property is now legal activism. The public should not be fooled by this argument or misunderstand where it leads, and Congress needs to exercise its oversight authority to clarify that the Trump administration hasn't written a blank check to a dange… Continue Reading


This trick could allow dangerous uranium mining at the Grand Canyon

by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva

Opinion: Uranium would enjoy looser environmental and permitting standards because of its importance to 'national security and economic prosperity,' U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva says. On May 18, the Department of the Interior released a list of 35 minerals set to enjoy looser environmental and permitting standards because of their importance to "national security and economic prosperity." The list includes uranium even though DOI's screening tool suggested it didn't meet the criteria. The Grand Can… Continue Reading


Republican moves on Arizona coal plant show they don’t believe their own rhetoric

by Rep. Raul M. Grijalva

The Navajo Generating Station (NGS), a coal-fired power plant in Northern Arizona, has in the past provided reliable power for consumers and good-paying jobs for tribal communities. As with other sites of this type, increased competition from natural gas and renewable energy has rendered NGS unprofitable. Instead of helping tribes prepare for the future, Republican coal loyalists are abusing congressional power to extend the life of NGS beyond 2019. In the process, they are acknowledging the fai… Continue Reading


'Dark & misguided' to deploy Park Police on border

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

The Trump administration and many Republicans in Washington claim that our border with Mexico is swarming with dangerous immigrants. According to this tired narrative, we have no choice but to send every available law enforcement officer to carry out a crackdown that won't stop until President Trump believes "the homeland" is safe. It never hurts to remind ourselves that this story is completely and provably false. As the Washington Post reported in January, "If you are an American concerned a… Continue Reading


Our Mining Laws Are More Than a Century Old—Time to Update Them

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

My Republican friends on Capitol Hill often complain that our nation's bedrock environmental laws are out of date. Their argument, which I disagree with, is that laws written in the 1960s and 1970s aren't relevant in the modern world. Unfortunately, their concern about updating laws written in the 1970s doesn't extend to at least one law from the 1870s. The General Mining Act of 1872 still governs all the mining for gold, silver, copper, and other metals that happens on our federal lands-and t… Continue Reading


Rep. Raul Grijalva: America risks being left behind on clean energy

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

French President Emmanuel Macron's recent visit to the U.S. offers a stern reminder that even as the Trump administration tries to withdraw our country from the global community, our friends and foes around the world continue to respond to climate change, and those responses will have long-lasting implications. Economies both large and small have begun a shift from fossil fuels to renewable and low-carbon energy sources. Unfortunately, for ideological reasons, Republicans in Washington are blin… Continue Reading


Be progressive, Democrats, not merely liberal

by Rep. Raul M. Grijalva

When I was elected to the House of Representatives in 2002, the American left found itself in the wilderness. George W. Bush's approval ratings topped 80 percent. Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress, and the Clinton administration felt like a distant memory. Far from debating whether we thought of ourselves as "liberals" or "progressives," most Democrats were debating how to win an election and become relevant again. Our congressional sweep in 2006 and President Barack Obama's elec… Continue Reading


Opinion: When Trump Dreams About Our National Parks, He Sees Oil

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

For most Americans, the mention of national parks brings to mind the scenic vistas of the Grand Canyon and Yosemite Valley or contemplative memorials like the Statue of Liberty and Pearl Harbor. Few people think of the tremendous amount of infrastructure - from roads and bridges to visitors centers and sewer systems - that supports 330 million annual visitors and $34.9 billion in annual economic output. The National Park Service manages a broad network that requires routine repairs, rehabili… Continue Reading


Grijalva: Grizzly conservation should reflect tribal input as well as best available science

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

When the state of Wyoming proposed a new grizzly bear hunt in March, the first in the lower 48 states in more than four decades, the timing was especially jarring for those of us who work hard to conserve the species. The state should have waited at least until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces whether it will reverse its 2017 decision to remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which stretches across Wyoming, Montana and … Continue Reading


Open Letter to Gun Manufacturers: Stop Hiding on our Public Lands

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

Dear Gun Manufacturers, including Midway USA, Springfield Armory Inc, Pierce Bullet Seal Target Systems, and Beretta USA: If I wasn't so disturbed by what you've done, I might be impressed. For decades, you've successfully hidden in the enormous shadow of the National Rifle Association (NRA) while your reputation has remained remarkably unscathed. You funnel tens of millions of dollars to the NRA through corporate sponsorships while they happily take the bullet for your dangerous political hand… Continue Reading


Commentary: When Americans look at a map of the US, they see natural wonders. When Trump looks, he sees unrealized industry profits.

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

After President Trump illegally shrank Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah last year, removing federal protections from approximately 2 million acres of public land, his supporters swore it had nothing to do with drilling or mining. They claimed the move, which is now being challenged in federal court, was about listening to public input, nothing more. When skeptics pointed out that Grand Staircase-Escalante has known coal deposits a… Continue Reading


Republican politicians should support the outdoor industry

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

It's easy to forget now, but President Donald Trump didn't just campaign on his plan for a border wall or his opposition to Hillary Clinton. He ran on his alleged business acumen, and part of his appeal was based on the idea that he knew a good deal when he saw one. Now, new economic numbers show us that his understanding of our economy - and his knowledge of which American industries have the brightest future - are mistaken. Thanks to Bureau of Economic Analysis numbers released Feb. 14, we kn… Continue Reading


Industry should comply with the Methane Waste Prevention Rule

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

Before leaving office, President Obama instituted a rule limiting the oil and gas industry's wasting of natural gas on public and tribal lands. The standard, formally known as the Methane Waste Prevention Rule, was a set of commonsense updates - such as requiring companies to detect and fix leaky equipment - projected to bring in an additional $23 million annually in royalties to states, tribes and federal taxpayers, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 950,000 cars off the r… Continue Reading


Public lands, private pain: Stopping sexual harassment at the Interior Department

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.)

The overdue national conversation on sexual harassment has revolved around awful behavior by well-known individuals. This media focus on the latest big name in entertainment, business or politics, while perhaps unavoidable, has tended to gloss over a big part of the story: sexual harassment pervades all kinds of workplaces, including federal agencies. A newly released report by the minority staff of the House Natural Resources Committee shows that the Department of the Interior (DOI), which ove… Continue Reading


Stop trying to militarize Interior, Ryan Zinke

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

During his confirmation hearing and throughout his time in office, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has presented himself as an admirer of Teddy Roosevelt and a believer in conservation. But less than a year into his tenure, his leadership has produced an existential crisis at the Department of the Interior. Zinke has surprised many with his willingness to support President Donald Trump's extreme environmental policies, including the recent attempt to erase most of two national monuments in Utah f… Continue Reading


Administration eyes tax cuts for the wealthy as it seeks to hike Park Service fees

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

In Donald Trump's world, the super-rich deserve low taxes but should pay exorbitant fees for outdoor recreation at private golf clubs and resorts. Disappearing tax bills and princely membership fees are badges of honor. Now Mr. Trump wants to run the country like a country club. His administration - supported by Republicans in Congress - is proposing a massive tax cut for those in the top tax bracket and pushing an enormous increase in the fees paid by visitors to our national parks. It's the k… Continue Reading


Stop seeing the Grand Canyon as potential strip mine

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

For all its grandeur, some people see the Grand Canyon as a potential strip mine. Unfortunately, a new report from the Trump administration just opened the door to new uranium mining in the region - and raised questions about who's really making federal environmental policy. Since January of 2012, approximately 1 million acres of federal land outside Grand Canyon National Park have been protected by a moratorium on new uranium mining claims. The policy was created after a public outreach process… Continue Reading


A Democratic approach to energy: promote the interests of citizens, not industry

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

Donald Trump claims to have an "America First" energy plan. His administration's actions over the past 10 months have made it clear that what he truly puts first are the interests of oil, gas and coal executives. Everyday Americans and our iconic American landscapes come last, if he considers them at all. Time after time Trump has capitulated to oil and gas industry deregulatory demands by gutting safety standards, decreasing royalty rates, advantaging fossil fuels, ignoring the threats of cl… Continue Reading


Congressman: My colleagues' national monument claims are disingenuous

by Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva

Arizonans of all political stripes know that our state's economy depends on outdoor tourism. More than 6 million people visited the Grand Canyonlast year, to say nothing of the many other national parks, forests and monuments our state is fortunate to include. Maintaining our federally protected public lands is critical - not just to our economy, but to our environment and our way of life. Unfortunately, a campaign funded by narrow special interests has gained traction in recent years to elimi… Continue Reading


Dear Secretary Zinke: Being a Good Neighbor is NOT “Un-American”

by Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva

In early 2015, the Bureau of Land Management reached an agreement with ConocoPhillips, one of the world's largest oil companies, to allow drilling in a protected region of Alaska known as the National Petroleum Reserve (NPR-A). The nearly $900 million project was expected to reduce a nearby Alaska Native community's ability to hunt and feed itself, and the agreement included an $8 million ConocoPhillips payment that went toward mitigating its impacts. Twenty or 30 years ago this might not have… Continue Reading

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