In The News


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


'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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Tribal leaders want less drilling by sacred sites

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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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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