Opinion Pieces


As Big Oil’s Mess in Our Oceans Grows, Their Bonding Requirements Should Too

by Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Katie Porter (D-Calif.), and Mike Levin (D-Calif.)

Big Oil uses our ocean waters and coastlines as their own personal junkyard. For decades, oil and gas companies have been leaving behind their old, out-of-use equipment and infrastructure, forcing unnecessary risk and cleanup costs on American taxpayers. There’s no question it’s a problem, but until now, we didn’t know just how bad the problem was. At our request, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a nonpartisan government watchdog, recently took a closer look at the issue, and the fin… Continue Reading


Gutting the National Environmental Policy Act is a Political Vendetta, Not Permitting Reform

by Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.)

At the end of March, House Republicans passed H.R. 1, a shameless giveaway of handouts and loopholes to the oil, gas, and mining industries, fittingly dubbed the Polluters Over People Act. While oil companies’ record-breaking profits make it clear that they’re not an industry under duress, Republicans continue to push legislation to gut our most fundamental environmental and public health laws, namely the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), to line industry pockets.  But … Continue Reading


House Dems fight for Arizonans. Republicans fight each other.

by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva

Making history isn’t always a good thing. Last week, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives seemed determined to prove that point. For the first time in more than a century, the Republican-controlled House failed not once, not twice, but 14 times to take the most basic first step of a new Congress—electing a Speaker of the House. The Republican party’s infighting has inspired entertaining social media memes, but if you’re hoping for them to do anything more tha… Continue Reading


The Puerto Rico Status Act is a real opportunity

by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva

This is a historic week for the people of Puerto Rico. Last Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill-H.R. 8393, the Puerto Rico Status Act-that could move Puerto Rico away from its current status as a U.S. territory toward a new political future. The era of colonization for the island could finally see its long overdue end, once and for all. In the more than 120 years since Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States at the end of the Spanish-American War, territory status and … Continue Reading


The Loss and Damage Fund Should Extend to Indigenous Communities Too

by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva & Dr. Michael Shank

As climate talks wrapped up at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Egypt this past month, the attending delegates agreed to make long-awaited history. For the first time, the United Nations (UN) adopted a pact to establish a “loss and damage” fund for developing nations that have borne the brunt of climate disasters over the years. The loss and damage fund is—at last—a formal and financial acknowledgement that richer, higher carbon-emitting nations, like the Un… Continue Reading


Watch Out! Here Comes the Climate Deal's Other Shoe.

by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva

The Democrats' health, climate, and corporate tax plan—the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)—was just signed into law by President Biden. If projections are accurate, this legislation will not only drive down prescription drug costs for millions of Americans, it could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an unprecedented 40 percent by 2030. Despite some serious flaws, the IRA is still the most significant climate legislation in history, and as chair of the Natural Resources Committee,… Continue Reading


Environmental Justice for Standing Rock, Environmental Justice for All

by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva & Janet Alkire

As he leaves for work each day, Jeff Kelly, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Fish and Game Department Director looks out at the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) crossing the Missouri River near his home. "I pray that the pipeline does not break today," he often says to himself, thinking of the more than 500,000 barrels of oil that flow underneath Lake Oahe daily. DAPL crosses the Missouri River and Lake Oahe about 800 feet upstream of the Tribe's Reservation and Cannonball Community, where Director K… Continue Reading


Uranium industry is the latest to hop on the opportunism bandwagon taking advantage of tragedy in Ukraine

by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva

This Thursday, March 31, at 10:00 a.m., the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing examining the country’s supply of critical minerals. The hearing should be an opportunity for Congress to determine how we can safely and sustainably secure minerals needed to power American’s transition to a clean energy economy. At top of mind should be reform of our antiquated mining law, which is more than 150 years-old. So, you might be surprised to see that one of the … Continue Reading


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


Medicaid funding for US territories is broken — Build Back Better could put us on a path to fixing it

by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva

As all Americans have been wrestling with the anxiety and uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic, residents of the U.S. Territories—American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—have been grappling with the looming threat of another crisis: The potential loss of billions of dollars in federal health care funding. This isn’t a crisis the territories brought on themselves. The problem started in 1968, when Congress … Continue Reading


Dear White Enviros: You can’t fight climate change without communities of color

by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva & Andrés Jimenez

In the summer of 2020, amid America’s national reckoning with its white supremacism and systemic racism, lovers of nature and conservation began to ask questions about how our national parks and other public lands fit into this reckoning. They took a closer look at beautiful, nationally prized landscapes, like Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park, that reflect the work of early conservationists who envisioned vast protected swaths of pristine, untouched wilderness for future generation… Continue Reading


Trump’s relocation of the Bureau of Land Management was part of a familiar Republican playbook

by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva

In his 1981 inaugural address, President Ronald Reagan famously proclaimed, “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” The goal, plain and simple, was to paint the federal government as an unnecessary evil. Reagan succeeded beyond his and his advisors’ wildest dreams, setting the political stage for a Republican Party that has elevated anti-government grievance to an article of faith. The destructive impacts of the ensuing cuts to Medicaid, hou… Continue Reading


Oil spills keep happening. It’s time for offshore drilling to go

by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva

The recent oil spill near Huntington Beach, Calif., when a nearly 18-mile-long offshore pipeline released thousands of gallons of crude oil not far south of Los Angeles, was the latest example in a long line of disasters caused by the fossil fuel industry. In a world where the climate crisis is quickly accelerating, putting our coastlines at serious risk from rising sea levels and more intense storms, we can’t afford any more business as usual from the offshore oil and gas industry. We hav… 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

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