Opinion Pieces

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


03.26.16

Congress should stop blocking restoration of Klamath River

On the cusp of commencing one of the most significant river restoration projects in history - a project that would remove four old dams that have diminished water quality and harmed salmon migrating along the mighty Klamath River - it is disappointing that some of our Republican colleagues continue to stand in the way of progress. For years, we have supported a balanced deal to resolve conflicts on the Klamath. We have supported the efforts of the states of California and Oregon, the private ow… Continue Reading


03.16.16

Fairy tales about the West are fueling public lands conflict

Last month, a federal court indicted the armed extremists who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon on multiple counts of felony conspiracy, making threats and other serious charges. The property damage they caused, which is still being assessed, will likely be charged to the American taxpayers on whose behalf they claimed to be acting. While they and their patron, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, now face the prospect of years behind bars, their ideology still enjoys con… Continue Reading


01.29.16

To ensure social justice, reauthorize the Historic Preservation Fund

In the late 1960s Congress passed sweeping legislation that fundamentally changed how we as a people engage with our neighbors, our history and our environment. In a few short years, we made overdue improvements to laws governing voting rights, civil rights, healthcare opportunities, education for young children, protection of wilderness, and fairer treatment for Native Americans. Thanks to a forward-looking Congress and effective federal leadership, every branch of the federal government played… Continue Reading


11.18.15

The G.O.P.’s Myopia on Coal

IT'S no secret that American coal companies are facing tough times. Shares of Peabody Energy, the world's largest private-sector coal company, have lost more than 90 percent of their value over the last year, and Arch Coal has seen its shares plummet to less than $2 from about $28 a year ago (and nearly $360 in 2011). Another major producer, Alpha Natural Resources, filed for bankruptcy protection in August. While it may not qualify for life support just yet, the American coal industry is deci… Continue Reading


10.28.15

The Clean Power Plan Helps Improve Climate Quality Standards for Communities of Color

Ever since President Obama presented the final version of the Clean Power Plan in August, we've seen coal- and gas-heavy states try to stop this badly needed effort in its tracks. As recently as Oct. 13, North Dakota's attorney general told a conference panel that he's preparing a lawsuit to block the program even as the state environment agency gets ready to implement it. This highly political reaction ignores just how badly climate change is impacting Americans' health, especially in communit… Continue Reading


10.21.15

Only Congress can prevent National Wildlife Refuges’ financial death spiral

Last week was National Wildlife Refuge Week. Considering the lack of support our refuges get from Congress, you'd be forgiven for not noticing. Over the past several years, our national wildlife refuges - homes to bald eagles, American alligators, grey wolves and too many other iconic species to name - have been systematically starved of money and staff. Many are already less open to the public than they were a few short years ago, and others are less able to protect vulnerable species than th… Continue Reading


08.28.15

Toxic Legacy: 1872 Law Lets Miners Profit on the Backs of American Taxpayers


07.21.15

We need new energy policy, now

The energy world we live in now was unthinkable just a decade ago. Policy back then was shaped by talk of peak oil and fears of increased reliance on Russian or Middle East imports. President Bush used his State of the Union address that year to push Congress for legislation to reduce environmental oversight and expand domestic drilling. As I remember it, the mood in Washington could best be described as frantic. So much has changed since then. Domestic development is now booming so fast that B… Continue Reading

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