In The News

03.27.20

Congress Needs to Put More Effort Into Protecting Territories

by Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-CNMI)

U.S. territories, where health infrastructure is weaker than most mainland facilities and local governments are facing serious financial challenges, have already reported several COVID-19 fatalities and dozens of cases. Government officials and residents of the territories are justifiably worried that an inadequate federal pandemic response will lead to preventable loss of life on a scale that - because of recent disasters - they've unfortunately already seen in the recent past. As leaders of t… Continue Reading


03.27.20

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Wins a Victory in Dakota Access Pipeline Case

by Lisa Friedman

WASHINGTON - In a significant victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, a federal judge on Wednesday ordered a sweeping new environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline, which runs from North Dakota to Illinois, has been carrying oil for nearly three years and has been contested by environmental groups and Native American tribes who live near it. President Trump sought to keep the project alive. The ruling by United States District Judge James E. Boasberg found that the pi… Continue Reading


03.22.20

Coronavirus Hits Native American Groups Already Struggling With Poor Health Care

by Dan Frosch and Christopher Weaver

The new coronavirus has found its way to Chilchinbeto, Ariz., a remote Navajo hamlet of about500 in the high desert, a sign of the startling reach of infections in the U.S., and a worrisomeharbinger for all Native American communities. As tribal leaders around the country gear up for the pandemic's arrival, they worry the federalagencies that are supposed to help protect them aren't ready. The federal Indian Health Serviceis already facing major shortages, and the Centers for Disease Control an… Continue Reading


02.20.20

The Environmental Battle Over the Mexican Border Wall

by Timothy Puko

SONORAN DESERT, Ariz.-As President Trump pushes to speed construction of the Mexican border wall, both opponents of the wall and his administration are invoking the environment-one side to stop the barrier, and the other to build it. Environmental groups say an impassable 30-foot-high wall would prevent endangered pronghorn, wolves, wildcats and other animals from roaming the borderlands for food, water and mates, while also destroying native plants and other threatened species in parks and wil… Continue Reading


02.11.20

Trump faces backlash for indigenous burial sites allegedly being demolished for border wall

by Chantal Da Silva

D emocratic lawmakers have accused the Trump administration of blowing up indigenous burial sites at Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument for the sake of President Donald Trump's border wall. Last week, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency confirmed to Newsweek that a construction contractor had begun "controlled blasting" in preparation for a new border wall system construction within the Roosevelt Reservation at Monument Mountain in the U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector. … Continue Reading


02.11.20

Native American burial grounds threatened by blasts for border wall construction, Arizona congressman says

by Catherine E. Shoichet and Gregory Lemos

Construction crews blowing up parts of a national monument to make way for the border wall could be on the verge of destroying sacred burial sites, an Arizona congressman who represents the area told CNN. But Rep. Raúl Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat, said he's still hoping the crews will change course before it's too late. "You can't replace these things. You can't fix them once they're gone," Grijalva said. "And as someone that grew up in the borderlands, it's painful to know that thi… Continue Reading


02.11.20

Blasting in Construction of Border Wall Is Affecting Tribal Areas

by Christine Hauser

One site disturbed by the construction, which is taking place in a UNESCO ecological preserve, is a resting place for Apache warriors. Blasting operations for construction of President Trump's border wall in Arizona have begun to disrupt a UNESCO ecological preserve that encompasses Native American ancestral lands and burial grounds. Construction crews have been blasting at Monument Hill, a resting place for primarily Apache warriors, and bulldozing at Quitobaquito Springs, a pilgrimage site, … Continue Reading


02.10.20

Native burial sites blown up for US border wall

Native American burial sites have been blown up by construction crews building the US-Mexico border wall, says a lawmaker and tribal leaders. Authorities confirmed that "controlled blasting" has begun at Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a Unesco recognised natural reserve. Raul Grijalva, a Democratic congressman, called the destruction "sacrilegious". The government failed to consult the Tohono O'odham Nation, he said. Environmental groups also warn of the damage being done to … Continue Reading


02.09.20

Sacred Native American burial sites are being blown up for Trump's border wall, lawmaker says

by Paulina Firozi

Construction crews began blasting sites within Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument as part of the construction of President Trump's border barrier, and the affected areas include sites sacred to Native American groups, according to a congressman from Arizona and advocates. The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is an internationally recognized biosphere reserve - meaning it has plants and animals so rare that the United Nations has given it a special designation. It includes abou… Continue Reading


02.07.20

Arizona national monument, home to sacred Native American burial sites, is being blown up for the border wall

by Audrey McNamara

A national monument in Arizona, home to rare species and sacred Native American burial sites, is being blown up this week as part of construction for President Trump's border wall, Customs and Border Protection confirmed to CBS News. "Controlled blasting" inside Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument began this week without consultation from the Native American nation whose ancestral land it affects, according to the congressman whose district includes the reservation. "There has be… Continue Reading


12.11.19

Study shows growing ocean damage as protection bills languish

by Elvina Nawaguna

As lawmakers push legislation to protect the nation's coastal waters, scientists are placingmuch of the blame for degrading ocean conditions on emissions from large energycompanies including ExxonMobil Corp., which was cleared Tuesday in a long-runningclimate court case. A study published Wednesday in the scientific journal Environmental Research Lettersfound that carbon emissions from the largest energy and cement companies are responsiblefor more than half of a damaging side effect: increasin… Continue Reading


11.19.19

Beyond coal and oil: Wyoming faces crisis

by Heather Richards

With its coal sector crumbling, Wyoming is leaning heavily on its oil industry to make up the difference. But experts are signaling that the boom times are truly over for Wyoming's fossil fuel-dependent economy, and some politicians are taking note. Though largely off the national radar, the nation's least populous state is ground zero for a rapidly evolving energy transition its politically conservative leaders don't really want, driven by markets out of their control. This is an era of clima… Continue Reading


11.08.19

'The focus has shifted': Environmental justice takes the spotlight

by Zack Colman

Small, local groups pushing environmental justice issues are getting new attention from Washington lawmakers and major green groups - as well as Democratic presidential hopefuls who are eager to harness their grassroots activism. Problems, like lead contamination in Flint, Mich., that affect low-income and minority communities can attract national attention, but the threats facing those communities from climate-related disasters are now mobilizing politicians and large environmental organizatio… Continue Reading


11.01.19

The Fight to Save Chaco Canyon

by Nick Martin

On Wednesday, the House voted to pass the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act, which would permanently ban any drilling or mining within a ten-mile radius of Chaco Canyon. The canyon is a historic and sacred site in New Mexico for the Pueblo nations and the Diné (Navajo Nation). It currently exists as a checkerboard of federally protected and unprotected lands. Protecting Chaco-despite the show of support from the House-will be a fight. The bill still has to survive a Republican-… Continue Reading


07.25.19

Democrats Accuse Interior of Censoring, Altering Science

by Bobby Magill

A researcher asked the House Natural Resources Committee July 25 to support greater protections for federal scientists after a climate change report she wrote for the National Park Service became caught in internal agency wrangling over climate change. Publication of Maria Caffrey's report was delayed for more than a year as the National Park Service attempted to scrub it of references to human-caused climate change, she said. After news outlets picked up her story, the Park Service published t… Continue Reading


07.16.19

A Top DOI Official Allegedly Violated Federal Ethics Rules. New Foia Documents Shed Light On His Apparent Misdeeds.

by Jimmy Tobias

In April of this year, the United States Department of the Interior's Office of Inspector General opened an investigation into allegations that six top political appointees at the agency had engaged in violations of federal ethics rules. One of the officials caught up in the cloud of scandal is Doug Domenech, an assistant secretary at the Department and a close friend and lieutenant of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. Domenech came under scrutiny after Pacific Standard and the Guardian toget… Continue Reading


06.27.19

House Democrats Want to Crowdsource Environmental Justice Bill

by Tiffany Stecker

Democratic Reps. Raul Grijalva (Ariz.) and Donald McEachin (Va.) are turning to the public to craft their next bill to protect low-income and minority communities from pollution. The lawmakers will soon launch an interactive online tool that allows people to comment on eight "principles" on environmental justice. The comments will serve as a basis for future legislation from the lawmakers, who unveiled the effort at a June 26 summit on the issue. The lawmakers sought the approach to make writi… Continue Reading


05.15.19

Tribes seek ban on public hunting of revered grizzly bears

by Matthew Brown

Native American leaders pressed lawmakers in Congress Wednesday to adopt permanent protections for grizzly bears, a species widely revered by tribes but that has been proposed for hunting in Wyoming and Idaho. Proposed legislation would block grizzly hunting in the Lower 48 states, regardless of the species' population size, and allow for the reintroduction of bruins to tribal lands. Grizzlies play a central role in the traditions and ceremonies of many tribes, said former Hopi Tribe chairman … Continue Reading


04.22.19

Exclusive Interview with House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva

Since Democrats have taken back the House of Representatives, climate change and conservation are finally back on the agenda in Congress. As our last interview of Earth Week, we wanted to chat with the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, about his priorities for the committee and how his party can continue to push for environmental action even if President Trump been no #FriendOfThePlanet. This is the first in a two-part series with the Chairman, look ou… Continue Reading


04.17.19

U.S. lawmakers hear call for stronger oil, gas regulations at Santa Fe hearing

by Rebecca Moss

There are old lessons New Mexicans should have learned about a powerful industry extracting valuable minerals from below the soil, members of the U.S. House of Representatives said Monday at a federal committee hearing in Santa Fe. Decades ago, it was uranium. Now Democratic lawmakers say they fear oil and gas could leave a similar legacy in the state. During the first of several congressional hearings, lawmakers, tribal leaders and environmentalists spoke about the need for stronger f… Continue Reading

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