Opinion Pieces


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


Rep. Raul Grijalva: America risks being left behind on clean energy

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

French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent visit to the U.S. offers a stern reminder that even as the Trump administration tries to withdraw our country from the global community, our friends and foes around the world continue to respond to climate change, and those responses will have long-lasting implications. Economies both large and small have begun a shift from fossil fuels to renewable and low-carbon energy sources. Unfortunately, for ideological reasons, Republicans in Washington ar… Continue Reading


Be progressive, Democrats, not merely liberal

by Rep. Raul M. Grijalva

When I was elected to the House of Representatives in 2002, the American left found itself in the wilderness. George W. Bush's approval ratings topped 80 percent. Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress, and the Clinton administration felt like a distant memory. Far from debating whether we thought of ourselves as "liberals" or "progressives," most Democrats were debating how to win an election and become relevant again. Our congressional sweep in 2006 and President Barack Obama's elec… 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


Grijalva: Grizzly conservation should reflect tribal input as well as best available science

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

When the state of Wyoming proposed a new grizzly bear hunt in March, the first in the lower 48 states in more than four decades, the timing was especially jarring for those of us who work hard to conserve the species. The state should have waited at least until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces whether it will reverse its 2017 decision to remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which stretches across Wyoming, Montana and … Continue Reading


Open Letter to Gun Manufacturers: Stop Hiding on our Public Lands

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

Dear Gun Manufacturers, including Midway USA, Springfield Armory Inc, Pierce Bullet Seal Target Systems, and Beretta USA: If I wasn't so disturbed by what you've done, I might be impressed. For decades, you've successfully hidden in the enormous shadow of the National Rifle Association (NRA) while your reputation has remained remarkably unscathed. You funnel tens of millions of dollars to the NRA through corporate sponsorships while they happily take the bullet for your dangerous political hand… 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


Industry should comply with the Methane Waste Prevention Rule

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

Before leaving office, President Obama instituted a rule limiting the oil and gas industry's wasting of natural gas on public and tribal lands. The standard, formally known as the Methane Waste Prevention Rule, was a set of commonsense updates - such as requiring companies to detect and fix leaky equipment - projected to bring in an additional $23 million annually in royalties to states, tribes and federal taxpayers, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 950,000 cars off the r… Continue Reading

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