Grijalva Highlights Slow GOP Legislative Pace and Oversight Gaps, Calls on Committee Republicans to Make 2016 More Productive

Washington, D.C. – As House Republicans head to their policy retreat, House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) called on Chairman Rob Bishop to increase the pace of both legislative and oversight work in the second session of the 114th Congress. Grijalva released a Democratic vision for the Committee in 2016, highlighting the dozens of bills still languishing after months without a markup and serious gaps in the Republican majority’s oversight agenda.

Under the Republican majority, the Committee has not held a markup since Oct. 8, 2015, and none is scheduled in January. If one is held in February, it will be approximately four months between markups – an unusual gap.

The newly released four-page “Natural Resources Committee Democratic Priorities” document, available at http://1.usa.gov/1RnKb2G, spells out the serious backlog of bills and oversight issues the Natural Resources Committee needs to address as soon as possible in the new year. The document takes an objective look at the progress made in each subcommittee in 2015 and recommends a significant increase in the pace and scope of the Committee’s work.

Grijalva successfully pushed to include climate change impacts on public lands in the Committee’s 114th Congress formal oversight plan. Since the measure was approved at the beginning of 2015, the majority has not held a single hearing on climate change risks to public property or any other national resources.

“The severe damage wrought by climate change is already a fact of life for millions of Americans, and our committee hasn’t batted an eyelash,” Grijalva said. “Our oil and gas regulations don’t ensure a fair return to taxpayers, our mining laws are more than a century out of date, and endangered species still face threats from hunting and trafficking every day because our committee majority won’t do its job. This committee is not meant to be a cushy assignment for collecting industry contributions and holding up every bill that comes across our desk. The American people are paying us to do a job on their behalf, and they have every right to ask what work product the majority delivered in 2015. This year needs to see improvement across the board.”

The Democratic recommendations document lays out a variety of areas demanding Committee attention. While more detail is available in the full document, the headings include:

Energy and Mineral Resources

Mitigate the impacts of the energy boom on our public lands

Make offshore drilling safer

Ensure a fair return for energy development on public lands

Reform hardrock mining and address abandoned mines

Federal Lands

Fix the wildfire budget

Protect National Parks

Make the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent and approve bipartisan conservation proposals


Water, Power and Oceans


Provide immediate and sustainable drought relief to the West

Address the impacts of climate change on our oceans, coasts and fisheries

Reauthorize recreation programs important to sportsmen and sportswomen

Save endangered species 

Ensure safe seafood

Approve the Klamath Agreements

Indian, Insular, and Alaska Native Affairs

Provide a Carcieri fix

Establish permanent, consistent tribal consultation

Approve the Palau Agreement

Oversight and Investigations

Pick up the pace

Expand the scope

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