Opinion Pieces


Oil and gas lobbyists are using Ukraine to push for a drilling free-for-all in the US

by Chair Raúl M Grijalva

Last week, we all watched in horror as Vladimir Putin launched a deadly, catastrophic attack on Ukraine, violating international treaties across the board. Most of us swiftly condemned his actions and pledged support for the Ukrainian people whose country, homes and lives are under attack. But the fossil-fuel industry had a different take. They saw an opportunity - and a shameless one at that - to turn violence and bloodshed into an oil and gas propaganda-generating scheme. Within hours, indust… Continue Reading


Remote Testimony Is a Major Upgrade for Congress

by Raúl Grijalva

As a pandemic safety measure, the U.S. House of Representatives began in May 2020 to hold committee hearings remotely so that witnesses could testify from home rather than in a crowded hearing room. This allowed people of all backgrounds, not just those who already live near Washington or who are able to fly there on short notice, to have their say before Congress. The results suggest this needs to become the new standard. After hearing from a broad range of speakers over the past year - people… Continue Reading


Climate policy has an ocean-sized hole in it. My legislation would change that.

by Chair Raul M. Grijalva

The world's oceans have until recently been an overlooked piece of the climate policy puzzle - a serious omission, since oceans cover more than 70 percent of earth's surface and absorb approximately a quarter of humanity's annual carbon dioxide emissions. Steps as simple as switching to cleaner shipping fuel would have tremendous climate benefits, but the impetus to take them has been lacking. On June 8, I introduced the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act to put marine health and ocean managemen… Continue Reading


Rep. Paul Gosar learned the hard way: supporting the insurrection has consequences in Congress

by Chair Raul M. Grijalva

When armed insurrectionists broke into the US Capitol on January 6, I had just finished speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives. My colleagues were debating a motion to reject the results of Arizona's election for president, which had been resolved in favor of President Biden. I spoke against the motion - the challenge was not based on any evidence - and took my seat. I was followed briefly by Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, who has played a leading role in the insurrectionist cause f… Continue Reading


The impending privatization of Puerto Rico's Energy Authority is a plan to shortchange workers


The people of Puerto Rico have suffered in recent years. Hurricanes and earthquakes, the COVID-19 pandemic and the island's bankruptcy have left many Puerto Ricans struggling. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA)'s plan to privatize the electrical grid through the LUMA Energy contract threatens to add to that misery. Once again Puerto Ricans are facing a hurricane season with an electrical system that is in disrepair. Now - as a result of the labor crisis caused by the LUMA contract … Continue Reading


Moving the country in a more equitable direction


With a new President at the helm, and with Democrats controlling both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the federal government has a unique opportunity to focus on policies that benefit all Americans, including those residing in the U.S. territories. After years of neglect and a clearly failed approach by the Trump administration, now is the time to resolve longstanding inequities in federal treatment of territorial residents. Nearly 4 million Americans live in the territories of Ame… Continue Reading


Don't trust this mining company to protect Oak Flat. Look what it did in Australia

by Raúl Grijalva

On Sept. 11, the CEO and two other top executives at the international mining giant Rio Tinto announced they would step down following public outrage at the company's destruction of a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal heritage site in Australia known as Juukan Gorge. Back in May, the company had blown up the rock shelters - they housed Aboriginal artifacts dating back 28,000 years - to gain access to millions of dollars' worth of iron ore. Although the departure of the company's leading figures and i… Continue Reading


The administration's policies have led to the serious damage of our national parks

by Chair Raul M. Grijalva

When Americans think about our national parks and natural beauty, our minds often jump - whether or not we've visited these places - to images we've seen of ice sheets at Glacier National Park, the moonlike wastes of Death Valley, or iconic images of groves at Joshua Tree National Park. While the classic look of these places is fixed in our minds, the places themselves are changing for the worse, and if we don't take action, old images may be all we have left to enjoy. Nearly a hundred years ag… Continue Reading


Puerto Rico needs federal assistance to recover from coronavirus, natural disasters

by Chair Raul M. Grijalva

In April 2019, President Trump launched a public relations campaign designed to make Americans forget that Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. He complained on Twitter that Puerto Ricans seeking disaster aid "only take from USA" and "hurt our farmers and states." His spokesman, Hogan Gidley, referred to Puerto Rico as "that country" not once but twice in a subsequent interview about what the president's initial comments meant. None of this was accidental. On Trump's watch, in addit… Continue Reading


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


Celebrate Grand Canyon National Park centennial by blocking new uranium mining

by Chair Raul M. Grijalva

This year is the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Grand Canyon National Park. Even with former fossil fuel lobbyists in charge of Trump administration environmental policy, this should be a time to celebrate. Instead, the administration is considering whether to open this internationally iconic landmark to new uranium mining claims. The president recently classified uranium as a "critical mineral," despite it not matching the definition of the term. Opening protected land to the indus… Continue Reading


Some Republicans are finally talking about addressing climate change. First they need to stand up to the deniers in their own party.

by Rep. Raul M. Grijalva and Rep. Jared Huffman

In August 1988, during his successful campaign for the presidency, George H.W. Bush promised a cheering crowd of Republican voters in Michigan that his first year in office would feature "a global conference on the environment at the White House." He vowed to invite the Chinese, Soviets, and emerging nations to talks on "global warming, saving our oceans and preventing the loss of tropical forests."Most important, Bush said, "We will act." It's hard to picture the Trump administration making t… Continue Reading


A Call to Revisit the Prepa RSA

by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva and Rep. Nydia Velázquez

We traveled to Puerto Rico in March with several of our congressional colleagues to hear from the public on how best to rebuild civil society and a functioning economy. The same theme came up again and again: As much as anything, Puerto Rico needs relief from its crushing debt burden. For a hurricane-ravaged community whose needs the Trump administration has neglected, the bloodless term "debt relief" might not sound to outside observers like a top priority. In fact, it is key to any hope for P… Continue Reading


The Trump administration's attack on Indian Country


The Trump administration is waging an unprecedented attack on Indian Country. Unless Congress steps up soon, Native Americans across the country could soon lose the ability to determine their own economic future. I don't use these terms lightly, and it's important to understand the real sense of crisis that now grips tribal communities. In September 2018, the Department of the Interior (DOI) took land held in trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag, a Massachusetts tribe that had been recognized for de… 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


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

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