Opinion Pieces

07.21.17

Congressman: My colleagues' national monument claims are disingenuous

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


07.05.17

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

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


05.27.17

Step up now to preserve U.S. public lands

For Americans worried about where our environmental policies are headed, it's important to remind ourselves that we have many important milestones to our credit. On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant - a Republican - signed the bill that declared Yellowstone the world's first national park, a vision of conservation that nearly every country now follows. A century later, on Dec. 28, 1973, President Richard Nixon - also a Republican - signed the Endangered Species Act into law. This pr… Continue Reading


05.16.17

More U.S. Action Required on New England Fishery

On March 30, Carlos Rafael - the infamous "Codfather" of New Bedford, Massachusetts - pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges. According to an affidavit from the IRS agent who uncovered the scam, Rafael and his company hurt taxpayers and made a mockery of fishery conservation and management efforts for years by falsely reporting landings, the size of his fleet's catch, and income. His fraud in mislabeling nearly 800,000 pounds of fish to evade quotas on cod, flounder and sole was so massive… Continue Reading


05.07.17

Why I sued to stop Trump's bogus border wall plan

President Trump says he cares about people, money and the environment. But if the money belongs to the federal treasury, the people are from diverse cultures, or the environment isn't near one of his golf clubs, his concern disappears. There is no better example of this brutal indifference than the president's plan to build a "beautiful" wall along our southern border. Trump's attempt to wall out Mexicans mixes scapegoating with bigotry and then disguises them as concern for public safety. … Continue Reading


03.15.17

The Endangered Species Act Doesn't Need "Reform"

Like most Americans, in school I learned that Congress functions best when people with different political philosophies work together. While the ideal of reaching across the aisle is still treated with reverence, bipartisanship only works in practice if there's a genuine issue worth addressing. When cooperation is invoked to push one side into addressing a "problem" that doesn't exist, calls for bipartisanship often hide a deeply partisan agenda. So it is with the Endangered Species Act (ESA),… Continue Reading


02.26.17

Bishop Wants Trump to Do His Bears Ears Dirty Work

After the Senate confirms Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., as secretary of the Interior, which could happen as soon as this week, his first trip will almost certainly be to Utah and to the Bears Ears National Monument. When Zinke visits, he will likely get an earful, again, from Rep. Rob Bishop, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee where I serve as ranking member. Bishop has set himself up as Congress' foremost cheerleader for rescinding the Bears Ears designation. In an interesting twist o… Continue Reading


02.22.17

Donald Trump's Border Wall Could Cut Through Your Backyard

In the early 1990s, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) proposed building a one-hundred-mile freeway to replace U.S. Route 23 along the western shore of Lake Huron. Construction of the new $1.5 billion road required federal permits, making it subject to review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Because of the size and scope of the project, MDOT and the Federal Highway Administration completed an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and posted that document for publ… Continue Reading


02.22.17

Climate change tied to nation's infrastructure needs

In what's become a troublingly common occurrence, the combination of extreme weather and crumbling infrastructure threatened the residents of another American community in California not long ago. Extensive rainfall in Northern California damaged the spillway of the Oroville Dam - the nation's tallest - and threatened numerous communities below the dam with massive flooding. As The Atlantic reported on Feb. 13, "drought, climate change, and aging infrastructure combined to create a looming cat… Continue Reading


02.14.17

When the power of protest works

On Jan. 24, my colleague, Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, introduced a bill mandating the sale of more than 3 million acres of federally protected land to private buyers. In a dramatic turnaround little more than a week later, he announced that the bill, which he had introduced during each successive Congress for a decade now, "dies tomorrow." Why? Chaffetz explained: "Groups I support and care about fear it sends the wron… Continue Reading


02.01.17

Making America Sick Again: What a Repeal of the Affordable Care Act Could Mean

Republicans in Congress tend to forget about Native Americans, and it looks like they are about to do so again. When Republicans in Washington brag about repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is something they forget to mention: repealing the Affordable Care Act would repeal authorization for the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), which was included in Obamacare. Destroying the Affordable Care Act will indeed make America sick again, and it could make Native Americans sickest o… Continue Reading


01.31.17

Stand Up, Environmentalists — There’s More to Fight For Now Than Ever

Most of us who worry about environmental issues did not support Donald Trump for president. His tweeted claim that the very idea of global warming "was created by and for the Chinese" and his eagerness to repeal environmental protections make him ill-suited to head federal agencies that protect our natural world. So now what? What should committed environmentalists, in Congress and in communities around the country, be preparing for? The Trump administration and its House and Senate alli… Continue Reading


01.25.17

The Keystone pipeline will create just 35 permanent jobs. Don't believe the lies

For those who still insist fossil fuels are the future, the Trump administration represents a new day for some old ideas. In an early sign of things to come, the president showed his faith in big oil when he signed documents Tuesday pressuring federal agencies to support construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. Each of these projects faced enormous protests and was put on hold by the Obama administration because of legitimate environmental and due process concerns. Congr… Continue Reading


10.06.16

Communities of color don’t find national parks as inviting as their white friends and neighbors

When we celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of the National Park Service on August 25th, many of us reflected on the family trips we'd made over the years, the historic sites and stunning landscapes we'd visited, and the wonderful people we'd met in our travels across the country. It was a rare moment to reflect on an agency that has played a huge role in defining the American experience. All of those things were on my mind that day. But as the senior Democrat on the House Natural Resource… Continue Reading


09.30.16

Dear Speaker Ryan: your 'forward-looking agenda' ignores climate change

House Speaker Paul Ryan spent much of this summer promoting the Republican policy agenda he calls "A Better Way." He's selling this repackaged mix of upper-income tax cuts and unregulated capitalism as a set of innovative, up-to-date solutions to our country's ailments. The message: even if many Republicans don't think Donald Trump can govern, House Republicans have a plan. Unfortunately, their plan has a glaring flaw. No worthwhile agenda focusing on poverty, security, and economic growth can … Continue Reading


08.22.16

U.S. Representative Raúl Grijalva on where he found his passion for the outdoors

Oli Winward/SalzmanArt When I was a young boy in southern Arizona, the sky islands of the Santa Rita Mountains were my front yard, the cactus-strewn plains of the Sonoran Desert my backyard. My father was a vaquero, a cowboy, on the historic Canoa Ranch on the outskirts of Tucson, and I spent a lot of time with him as he worked the land. While we roamed the 4,800-acre property, my father shared his thoughts about the landscape and his reverence for the natural world. Although I didn… Continue Reading


06.17.16

The Republican crusade against public land must end

Since taking over the majority in 2011, House Republicans have intensified their efforts to give away natural resources owned by the American people to a few special interests. From threatened and endangered wildlife to mineral resources to fisheries, Republicans have attempted to shift control and decision-making authority from federal agency stewards to states and localities - even those with a track record of short-sighted or irresponsible management. Of all their efforts to rewrite American… Continue Reading


04.26.16

The Grand Canyon is under siege

Ha' ay g'am, Wi:Nyi Gacha, Ongtupqa, Tsékooh Hatsoh, Chimik'yana'kya deya'a. ("Grand Canyon" in Havasupai, Hualapai, Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni languages.) You may not recognize these words, though you know the place they describe. The crown jewel of the U.S. National Park System, a place that leaves all Americans awestruck, one of the seven natural wonders of the world: The Grand Canyon. We, the people of the Havasupai, Hopi, and Zuni tribes, the Hualapai Nation, the Navajo Nation, and othe… Continue Reading


04.13.16

Magnuson at 40

By: House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva and Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee Ranking Member Jared Huffman (D-Calif) There was a time when we didn't know any better. In 1884, English scientist Thomas Huxley wrote that "probably all the great sea-fisheries are inexhaustible; that is to say that nothing we do seriously affects the number of fish." Back then almost all fishing vessels were sail-powered, fisheries science was in its infancy, and in the north… Continue Reading


03.31.16

Rep. Raúl Grijalva: How to Prevent the Next Oil Spill

A little more than six years ago, a Senate committee held a hearing about a major blowout on a rig off the coast of Australia. At that hearing, we were assured such an environmental tragedy couldn't happen in the United States. "Releases from oil and gas operations are rare," a BP executive said, "and the application of technology has enabled a dramatic reduction of releases from our industry over the last 30 years." Less than six months later, the Deepwater Horizon exploded, and the BP oil spi… Continue Reading

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