In The News

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


04.17.19

Tribal leaders want less drilling by sacred sites

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04.16.19

Bernhardt’s office acknowledges meetings left off schedule

by Jacob Holzman

The Interior Department has acknowledged that Secretary David Bernhardt's staff intentionally left controversial meetings with representatives of fossil fuel, timber and water interests off his public calendar, citing "internal protocol" governing his schedules. The department also confirmed that Bernhardt used a personal itinerary kept on a single Google document that was regularly overwritten by his scheduling staff and said he is still doing so as House Democrats probe whether the practice a… Continue Reading


04.10.19

Congress Passes Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan

by Christopher Conover

The drought contingency plan took two years of negotiations for the seven Colorado River Basin states to approve, but only six days for Congress to pass. On Monday, the U.S. House and Senate both passed legislation putting the plan into effect. U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, was one of the bill's sponsors. The Tucson-area Democrat told his colleagues the plan is imperative. "This is not an infinite resource that we have, water, it is a finite resource, and we need to treat it that way," Grijalva sa… Continue Reading


04.10.19

Congress authorizes Colorado River drought plan with unanimous approval from Arizona lawmakers

by Andrew Nicla

A bill that would authorize the federal government to enact a drought plan for Colorado River basin states in times of shortage has passed Congress and was on its way Tuesday to the White House for the president's signature. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., fast-tracked the measure, clearing a final hurdle for the drought plan, a product of years of long and complicated negotiations that crossed state and party lines. When enacted, the plan will spread the … Continue Reading


03.07.19

Non-Nuclear Option

by By Lillian Donahue

Rep. Raúl Grijalva's bill enacting a permanent ban on uranium mining drew praise this week from Havasupai leaders and criticism from the mining industry, as well as from a Republican member of Arizona's congressional delegation. "Havasupai means people of the blue green water, and we have been living here for over thousands of years," Havasupai Tribal Council Member Claudius Putesoy said. Hundreds of Havasupai live at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. They want to protect the future of th… Continue Reading


03.07.19

A Trump official said seismic air gun tests don’t hurt whales. So a congressman blasted him with an air horn.

by Darryl Fears

A hearing on the threat seismic testing poses to North Atlantic right whales was plodding along Thursday when, seemingly out of nowhere, Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) pulled out an air horn and politely asked if he could blast it. Before that moment at a Natural Resources subcommittee hearing, Cunningham had listened to a Trump administration official testify, over and over, that firing commercial air guns under water every 10 seconds in search of oil and gas deposits over a period of months wou… Continue Reading


03.06.19

Democrats grill offshore drilling safety agency on permit waivers

by Ben Lefebvre

House Natural Resources Committee Democrats repeated their demand on Wednesday that the Interior Department furnish years of unredacted drilling permits showing how many waivers from safety rules it had given to offshore oil and gas rig operators. Interior issued nearly 1,700 waivers from parts of the Well Control Rule between its enactment in 2016 and last spring, as POLITICO first reported last week. Critics have questioned why Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement have gr… Continue Reading


02.27.19

Congress voted to protect millions of acres of public lands: Why it’s a huge win for conservationists

by Alejandra Borunda

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to authorize a sweeping land protection package that would protect over two million acres of land across the country. The nearly 700-page package includes legislation that touches nearly every state, expanding wilderness areas from New Hampshire to Alaska, carving out new protections for rivers and state forests, and permanently protecting several vast tracts of land from future mining. The bill also includes a crucial guarantee: that the … Continue Reading


02.25.19

Grijalva unveils new attempt to ban uranium mining permanently near the Grand Canyon

by Andrew Nicla

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK - An Arizona lawmaker is renewing his push to halt uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, outlining a proposal Saturday that would make permanent a moratorium on new claims across 1 million acres of public lands. Rep. Raúl Grijalva has introduced other versions of what he's calling the "Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act" several times in recent years, but he's likely to find stronger support this time in the Democratic-controlled House, where he is chairman… Continue Reading


02.09.19

Crude Awakening

The truth about big oil and climate change In America, the world's largest economy and its second biggest polluter, climate change is becoming hard to ignore. Extreme weather has grown more frequent. In November wildfires scorched California; last week Chicago was colder than parts of Mars. Scientists are sounding the alarm more urgently and people have noticed-73% of Americans polled by Yale University late last year said that climate change is real. The left of the Democratic Party wants to p… Continue Reading


01.24.19

Interior proposal to limit records requests draws challenge

by Ellen Knickmeyer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Advocates for a free press are challenging an Interior Department proposal to limit requests for access to public records under the federal Freedom of Information Act, saying Thursday the moves would "clamp down on transparency." Separately, Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, asked acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt in a letter late Wednesday to extend the almost-over 30-day public comment period and hold agency pub… Continue Reading


01.18.19

Court: No new offshore drilling work during federal shutdown

by Meg Kinnard

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A federal judge in South Carolina has turned back the Trump administration's attempt to continue preparatory work for offshore drilling during the federal government's partial shutdown, issuing a ruling in a federal lawsuit challenging the overall expansion plans. In his order, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel halted federal agencies "from taking action to promulgate permits, otherwise approve, or take any other official action" for permits to conduct testing that's need… Continue Reading


01.16.19

Gavel in Hand, Raúl Grijalva Is Ready to Cleanse the Interior Department of Industry Influence

by Andy McGlashen

On January 7, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona), the new chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, sent a pointed letter to David Bernhardt, the acting secretary of the Department of the Interior. Grijalva wanted to know why the department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was moving ahead with public meetings on plans for oil and gas leasing in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge despite a partial government shutdown that had furloughed thousands of Interior employees and halt… Continue Reading


01.07.19

Grijalva’s moment arrives as he takes Natural Resources gavel

by Jacob Holzman

As climate change and immigration lead priorities for the new House Democratic majority, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva may just be the man for the moment. The question however is: Did Grijalva find this moment or did the moment finally find him? "It took time," the Arizona Democrat said. "I think people have come to the conclusion that one has to look beyond the obvious and understand that [on] environmental issues, particular to climate change, we're all in the same boat." The 70-year-old son… Continue Reading


01.04.19

Despite shutdown, Trump administration continues work to begin oil drilling in ANWR

by Elizabeth Harball

Jan. 7 update: The new Democratic chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee is demanding details on how the Department of the Interior is continuing its push toward oil lease sales in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge despite the partial government shutdown. Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona wrote to acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt questioning whether his department's work is appropriate during the partial shutdown. Interior is continuing its environmental review for oil… Continue Reading

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