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Trump is using a pandemic to weaken environmental law. First victim: The Grand Canyon

by Chair Raúl M. Grijalva

President Trump is using the worst pandemic in a century to weaken our environmental laws without public oversight, and he isn't sparing the Grand Canyon. While Americans shelter at home, waiting for the administration to offer a more effective medical response than injecting bleach, an administration advisory group just released a report recommending opening more public lands to uranium extraction. The steps recommended in a new report by the Nuclear Fuel Working Group, an industry-stacked pa… Continue Reading


Under Trump, our public lands are spewing carbon dioxide

by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, Rep. Alan Lowenthal

OPINION - The Trump administration tried to sneak two alarming climate change reports past the public last year just after Thanksgiving, apparently hoping everyone would be shopping or sleeping off a turkey hangover. The attempt backfired spectacularly. One of the reports, the National Climate Assessment, gave a new sense of urgency to climate policy in a way unmatched by other recent scientific analyses. Its projections of huge impacts on people's health, their homes, and the overall U.S. econ… Continue Reading


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


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


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


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


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


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


Step up now to preserve U.S. public lands

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva

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


Bishop Wants Trump to Do His Bears Ears Dirty Work

by Ranking Member Grijalva

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


Donald Trump's Border Wall Could Cut Through Your Backyard

by Ranking Member Grijalva

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


When the power of protest works

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva

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


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

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

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


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

by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva

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


Fairy tales about the West are fueling public lands conflict

by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

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


To ensure social justice, reauthorize the Historic Preservation Fund

by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.)

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

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