In The News


Interior Dept. Dodges Watchdog’s Questions About Zinke’s Call To Alaska Senators

by Chris D’Angelo

The Interior Department took six months to respond to investigators probing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's apparent effort to bully Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) into supporting Obamacare repeal last year, and ultimately skirted their questions. In a letter HuffPost obtained, Daniel Jorjani, a former Koch brothers adviser appointed principal deputy solicitor in May, refused to give the Government Accountability Office details about Zinke's July phone call to Murkowski and fellow Alaska Re… Continue Reading


Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's $12K charter flight approved without full info

A $12,000 charter flight by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was reviewed and approved by department ethics officials without complete information, because staffers who helped schedule the trip did not provide sufficient details, an internal watchdog said Monday. A report by Interior's inspector general said Zinke's use of a chartered flight after he spoke to a National Hockey League team in Las Vegas "might have been avoided" if Interior employees had worked with the team to accommodate Zinke's s… Continue Reading


Sources: Interior Officials Have History Of Hostility To Native Concerns

by Alice Ollstein

A scathing Inspector General's report released last week is raising new questions about last summer's mass reassignment of Interior Department (DOI) employees that disproportionately affected Native Americans. Now, current and former members of Congress and former department officials tell TPM that two top Trump political appointees at the department - at least one of whom played a key role in the reassignments - have long been hostile to Native concerns. Both officials, Deputy Secretary David … Continue Reading


Dems push Zinke to halt trophy hunting imports

by Timothy Cama

Dozens of House Democrats have asked Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to halt all trophy hunting import decisions for elephants and other species, expressing "deep concern" over the Trump administration's policy. The 55 lawmakers, led by House Natural Resources Committee ranking member Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), complained in a Tuesday letter that Interior's decision to consider trophy import licenses on a "case-by-case"basis reduces transparency and accountability and will allow more im… Continue Reading


Zinke 'supportive' of LWCF but gives budget the ax

by Jennifer Yachnin

While the Trump administration offered a tepid vision for the future of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in its fiscal 2019 budget proposal - slashing the program's acquisition budget by 95 percent - the Interior Department insisted Secretary Ryan Zinke remains a steadfast supporter. The LWCF - which uses nontaxpayer dollars to preserve and maintain national parks, forests, recreation areas and cultural sites - is set to expire Oct. 1 unless lawmakers reauthorize it. The program, created by… Continue Reading


Bears Ears bill hearing resumes after Democrats force more witnesses

by Jacqueline Toth

(January 30, 2018) - A hearing on a Republican House bill to establish two new monuments in place of the scaled-back Bears Ears National Monument resumed after Democrats forced the GOP majority to schedule more witnesses - all opposed to the bill - to testify on the issue. On Jan. 9, House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, recessed the first hearing on the bill (HR 4532) after a majority of Democrats on the Federal Lands Subcommittee submitted a letter to Federal Lands Subcommittee… Continue Reading


Rep. Lamborn Has Public Statement Read at Dec. 2014 Public Hearing on Browns Canyon National Monument


Feds Will Skip Environmental Impact Study Before Building Border Wall Through Wildlife Refuge

by Ayana Byrd

Though funding for the estimated $21.6 billion U.S.-Mexico wall has not yet been secured, the federal government continues to move forward with construction. In the latest development, the Trump Administration intends to invoke a 2005 anti-terror law to avoid conducting an environmental review of the impact the wall will have on a national wildlife refuge. Per the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), environmental impact studies are required for large-scale projects. But Reuters reports th… Continue Reading


GOP, Democrats spar over best way to save Endangered Species Act

by Ben Moffat

WASHINGTON - Democrats and Republicans agreed Wednesday that everybody wants to prevent extinction of endangered species - but they differ sharply on how to do that. That was the main issue as the House Natural Resources Committee took up five bills,what Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, called a "weird menu" of measures that would modify the Endangered Species Act in ways he called a "waste of time." Grijalva said that for Congress to "decide which species live or die - for all time - is arrogant… Continue Reading


Calls to audit debt made

by José A. Delgado

WASHINGTON - Democrats in Congress demanded yesterday an audit for Puerto Rico's debt, that the OB end the use of the legal bankruptcy mechanism, and for the government of Ricardo Rosselló to desist in stripping benefits from workers. Together with experts on the issue of the fiscal crisis and labor union representatives, democratic leaders participated in a forum in the House to demand greater attention by Congress to the plight of Puerto Rico, following the end yesterday of the s… Continue Reading


Congressman Raúl Grijalva's Stand for Public Lands

by Ben Radding

No public figure has been more vocal about saving public lands than Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee. Recently he's been taking the fight to the airwaves, speaking about the unexpected costs of the border wall, how Trump's proposed budget could impact the Grand Canyon, and speaking out against special interest groups that are teaching climate denial. While visiting with constituents in Arizona, the Congressman took a break to tal… Continue Reading


Grijalva baits Bishop on Antiquities Act

by Jennifer Yachnin

Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, is challenging Chairman Rob Bishop to introduce legislation to reform the Antiquities Act, accusing the Utah Republican of attempting to dismantle national monuments via "a behind-the-scenes legal strategy." In a statement issued yesterday, Grijalva took aim at his counterpart, who has been a vocal critic of the 1906 law that allows presidents to designate land as monuments to protect objects of histor… Continue Reading


No, President Trump can’t revoke national monuments

by Robert D. Rosenbaum

Critics of national monuments created by President Obama - particularly the Bears Ears monument in Utah - have long argued that President Trump should revoke Obama's orders establishing them. Meanwhile, the House Natural Resources Committee declared this month that it plans to work with the Trump administration to identify which declared monuments should be "rescinded or diminished in size." On March 8, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (Ariz.) - the ranking Democrat on the committee - wrote a lette… Continue Reading


Rep. Raúl Grijalva: Public Opinion For Public Lands Can Sway Congress

by Kurt Repanshek

"Starve the beast," a phrase fashionable with fiscally conservative politicians dating to the mid-1980s, has returned in full force to Congress, where U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva worries about how national parks and public lands in general will fare if Republicans aren't checked. The theory behind the phrase was that reducing funding to an agency would naturally cause it to shrink in size. Today, as agencies such as the National Park Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management struggle to de… Continue Reading


The Corporate Money Behind Our Country’s Anti-Public-Lands Politicians

by Jimmy Tobias

A wrecking crew is hard at work on Capitol Hill. By way of bill writing, budgetary sabotage and the Congressional bully pulpit, the wrecking crew wants to dismantle our country's proud tradition of protecting natural resources. It wants to do away with federal lands. It wants to weaken conservation law. It wants to make you believe that land agencies like the United States Forest Service are corrupt, inept, tyrannical, or all three at once. It wants to undermine America's great outdoors. Perha… Continue Reading


Bishop wants $50M to offset federal land transfers

by Kellie Lunney

House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) wants $50 million in the budget to offset any costs resulting from transferring federal lands to states and localities. The federal government generates revenue from public lands through activities like mining and grazing or timber sales. Under "existing budget conventions," says Bishop, a land transfer would be considered a loss to the federal government. That's why Bishop asked the House Budget Committee to include a $50 million offset in … Continue Reading


Northeastern fishermen sue over Atlantic protections

by Emily Yehle

New England fishermen are challenging the nation's first Atlantic marine monument, filing a lawsuit today that accuses former President Obama of violating the Antiquities Act because the monument is not on land. The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument protects almost 5,000 square miles of near-pristine deep-sea canyons and seamounts. Obama created the monument in 2016, eliciting cheers from conservation groups and criticism from some commercial fishermen (E&E Daily, Sep… Continue Reading


Facing backlash, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz withdraws bill to transfer federal land to the states

by Juliet Eilperin

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) withdrew legislation Thursday that would have transferred 3 million acres of land from federal to state ownership, citing objections from constituents who complained that the move would limit access to public hunting and fishing grounds. The Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act, which would have shifted federal holdings to state governments in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Wyoming, prompted an outcry among hunters … Continue Reading


Grijalva rallies local communities to fight rollback attempts

by Jennifer Yachnin

As Republicans on Capitol Hill and the Trump administration contemplate how to roll back some of the national monuments created under the Antiquities Act, Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona is urging voters in the Southwest to "build a united front" to combat such efforts. The top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee is set to address residents in New Mexico tonight, the final stop on a three-day tour of the state's national monuments that has included Organ Mountains-… Continue Reading


House Republicans start the new Congress with an assault on federal lands

by David Horsey

Top of the Ticket cartoon. (David Horsey / Los Angeles Times) This week, House Republicans got so much blowback from their attempt to neuter the independent congressional ethics office that they quickly reversed course. The tone-deaf assault on ethics oversight was part of a bigger package of rules changes that included another provision that should also have been stopped, but was not: a scheme to give away federal lands. The change, approved by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives on T… Continue Reading

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