Natural Resources Committee Democrats Host Roundtable on Women and the Environment – Part of an Ongoing Committee Series

Washington, D.C. – Democratic members of the House Committee on Natural Resources met with national women conservation leaders today to discuss the invaluable role women play in improving national policy on climate change, clean air and water, wildlife preservation, and environmental justice. The meeting is the second in a series of roundtables Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva is convening to bring in stakeholders traditionally left out of climate and environmental policy discussions.

Grijalva hosted a Feb. 26 roundtable with national Latino leaders focused on how Members of Congress and Latino groups can work together on issues important to constituents and group members alike, including climate change, clean energy, water resources, support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, preserving cultural antiquities, and including more public input in making major federal environmental decisions through the National Environmental Policy Act. That conversation led to an ongoing information-sharing relationship between the Committee and Latino organizations, a model the Committee will follow after today’s meeting and future roundtables.

Today’s participants explored how women leaders inside and outside Congress can develop female leadership in environmental policymaking and increase consideration of environmental policies’ impacts on women and girls. Eleven women participants representing 10 environmental and conservation organizations attended alongside Rep. Norma Torres – who chaired the event – and Reps. Grijalva, Grace Napolitano, Niki Tsongas and Debbie Dingell. Rep. Tsongas is the ranking member on the Federal Lands Subcommittee, and Rep. Dingell is the ranking member on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

“Women have long been at the forefront of efforts to preserve the environment for future generations,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said. “As advocates, mothers, teachers, elected officials, civic leaders, women have a vital role to play in shaping policy and promoting the participation of women in environmental and conservation work. This roundtable discussion empowers women, many of whom are working on multiple fronts, to ensure that our children have the resources needed to thrive and live healthy lives.”

“Women and girls play a vital role in environmental protection and conservation work, and our policies must respect that role,” Ranking Member Grijalva said. “Despite being impacted directly by climate change and other environmental issues, women are often unaccounted for when it comes time to write a law, make a decision or craft a regulation. From mothers fighting for children’s health to activists protecting our cultural heritage to Girl Scouts learning about endangered species, women are building our country’s environmental future, and it’s time for Congress to recognize their efforts. Today’s event is a critical first step to ensuring that environmental policies reflect the needs of women and girls all over the country.”

“As we debate important policies that will shape our environment for future generations, it is important to hear from a diverse set of voices to fully understand and inform our decisions, and women need to have a seat at that table.  Though often the fiercest environmental advocates, for far too long women have been left out of the policymaking process. It is women who have the most at stake, and as Chair of today’s roundtable, I am committed to making sure female leaders play an active role in preserving our natural treasures for our families and generations to come,” said Roundtable Chairwoman Norma Torres.

“Women have played, and continue to play, key roles in the preservation of our nation’s natural and historical treasures, especially here in the Massachusetts Third District where the advocacy of women leaders has helped protect and maintain rivers, conservation land, open spaces and two National Parks. As history has shown across the nation, when women assume positions of leadership, they are able to draw more attention to issues that affect families as a whole. Protecting the earth for future generations certainly qualifies as an issue that will affect American families for generations to come. I was proud to engage with Ranking Member Grijalva, my colleagues and all those joining us at the roundtable to learn more about the great work being done across the country by women leaders to promote conservation and environmental stewardship,” said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Federal Lands.

“Protecting the environment is an issue that inherently impacts women and families,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. “We all want clean air and water for our children to breathe and drink; a sustainable environment for the next generation; and national parks where we can teach our kids and grandkids the importance of being outdoors. It is so important that we make our voices heard on these key issues, and I thank Ranking Member Grijalva for bringing women leaders to the table so we can listen, talk and learn from one another and form coalitions to achieve lasting change.”

“The data is clear; climate change is having and continues to have a disproportionate impact on women, especially marginalized women, including refugee and displaced persons, sexual minorities, religious and ethnic minorities, adolescent girls, women and girls with disabilities and those who are HIV positive. This is unacceptable,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “While women are bearing the brunt of the effects of climate change, they also possess a unique capacity to implement strategies to address and mitigate climate change. We must ensure that our policies help women prepare for and adapt to climate change while empowering them to join the effort to address climate change.”