In The News


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


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


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


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


The Energy 202: Zinke is gone. But this House Democrat still want his testimony.

by Dino Grandoni

It was only about three weeks after the midterm elections, and tensions had reached a boiling point between one of President Trump's Cabinet members and the top Democrat set to oversee his department next year. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, called on Ryan Zinke to resign over his "ethical and managerial failings." In response, the interior secretary accused Grijalva of being a drunk. After that remarkably personal and public attac… Continue Reading


BLM uses LWCF to purchase Mont. big-game habitat

by Scott Streater, E&E News reporter

The Bureau of Land Management announced today that it has used Land and Water Conservation Fund money to purchase nearly 1,000 acres in southwest Montana in an effort to protect wildlife and improve access to public lands for big-game hunters. The purchase of the 960 acres, which are bordered on three sides by BLM-managed lands and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, comes after Congress allowed the LWCF to expire Sept. 30, though there is still money in the fund derived primarily by roya… Continue Reading


In the Blink of an Eye, a Hunt for Oil Threatens Pristine Alaska

by By Henry Fountain and Steve Eder

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - It is the last great stretch of nothingness in the United States, a vast landscape of mosses, sedges and shrubs that is home to migrating caribou and the winter dens of polar bears. Aside from a Native village at its northern tip, civilization has not dented its 19 million acres, an area the size of South Carolina. There are no roads and no visitors beyond the occasional hunter and backpacker. But the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - a federally protected place of austere … Continue Reading


Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke must resign. His multiple scandals show he's unfit to serve.

by Raúl M. Grijalva

Ryan Zinke needs to resign immediately as Secretary of the Interior. I take no pleasure in calling for this step, and I have resisted it even as questions have grown about Mr. Zinke's ethical and managerial failings. Unfortunately, his conduct in office and President Donald Trump's neglect in setting ethical standards for his own cabinet have made it unavoidable. While the secretary continues to project confidence, questions have grown since the election about his future plans, and the White H… Continue Reading


Incoming House committee chairman demands accountability for Trump’s destructive monument policy

by Mark Hand

As he prepares to take over as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and his staff are mapping out the best approach for fighting the Trump administration's attacks on national monuments. With the Republicans holding majority power in the House of Representatives for another month, Grijalva and his fellow Democrats will follow a legal approach against the Trump administration's national monument policy - at least for the time being. But when he tak… Continue Reading


Rep. Raúl Grijalva intends to force a reckoning with climate change

by Paige Blankenbuehler

Less than a week before the midterm elections, U.S. House Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D- Arizona, released a report detailing how the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, on which he has served for 14 years, stacked its hearings with industry interests. "Under Republican leadership," he wrote, "hearings have disproportionally included witnesses who pad their profits by degrading public lands." Now that Democrats have won a majority in the House, Grijalva will have his chance, as the commit… Continue Reading


Raúl Grijalva: Focus on policy instead of petty attacks

by Rep. Raúl Grijalva

In a recent op-ed by Pima County GOP Chairman David Eppihimer, the Pima County Republican Party leader took a direct nosedive into the proverbial political gutter. Devoid of any substantive policy proposals that would help the people of Southern Arizona, Mr. Eppihimer and my opponent Nick Pierson have resorted to petty personal attacks on my heritage, my family and my character. I can't say I'm surprised. At this point, it's part of the Republican playbook. From the day that Donald Trump an… Continue Reading


Republicans who never investigated Puerto Rico deaths are now trying to look serious on the issue

by Josh Israel

In the hours after President Donald Trump's blatant lie to the nation about the death toll in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, multiple Congressional Republicans made statements correcting his claim that the 3,000 death estimate was a Democratic conspiracy to make him look bad. But in the months after the disaster, they were too busy investigating the previous administration's law enforcement efforts to bother examining why thousands of Americans were left to die. Speaker of the House Paul Ry… Continue Reading


POLITICO Pro Q&A: House Natural Resources ranking member Raúl Grijalva

by Anthony Adragna

Rep. Raúl Grijalva is promising aggressive oversight of the Interior Department if Democrats win the House this fall, something he says has been ignored by the Republicans now in charge of the House Natural Resources Committee. Grijalva, who has represented a Tucson, Ariz.-based district since 2003 and has risen to become the top Democrat on the resources panel, said the "arrogant" Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has turned his department into a "personality cult" for himself while declini… Continue Reading


House Republicans propose financial penalties for states that block offshore drilling

by Dino Grandoni

House Republicans put forward a proposal this week to impose hefty fees on states that do not approve of drilling for oil and natural gas off their coasts, a move that would pressure local leaders who oppose the Trump administration's plan to expand offshore leasing. The administration's plan has been met with stiff resistance from many Democrats and even Republicans in coastal communities. Elected leaders in several seaside states even vowed to block the federal government from allowing offsho… Continue Reading


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

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