At Press Conference, Chair Grijalva Announces New Committee Markup Date for the RESPECT Act

UPDATE: The letter from conservation and environmental organizations referenced below originally had 15 signees. The number has been updated to 19. 

Washington, D.C. – Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today announced a new markup date and time—Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time—for the RESPECT Act (H.R. 3587) at an in-person press conference in the Longworth House Office Building.

A recording of the press conference livestream is available here: https://fb.me/e/1gIlXK7iy

At the press conference, Chair Grijalva also announced a new letter he received today from 19 conservation and environmental organizations endorsing the RESPECT Act. The full letter is available here.

The RESPECT Act will codify into law that federal agencies must consult with tribal governments before taking federal actions that impact tribal lands, rights, resources, or citizens. The April 6 markup will be the first time in congressional history that any legislation codifying tribal consultation requirements will be considered before the full committee. 

In addition to making tribal consultation the law, the bill will establish government-wide standards for identifying agency actions and regulations that have tribal impacts, conducting adequate outreach to tribal governments, documenting tribal consultation, and implementing training to improve federal-tribal relations. A one-pager for the bill is available here.

Select quotes from the press conference speakers expressing their support for the RESPECT Act are below:

“I don’t want to receive a letter, I don’t want to get an email, but I want true meaningful face-to-face dialogues with timelines, intent, and follow up, and next steps agreed upon by both parties. Making the tribal consultation process a law is long overdue and it would be a step in the right direction to ensure tribal nations’ sovereignty is protected and our voice is at the table.” - The Honorable Amber Torres, Chairman, Walker River Paiute Tribe

“We did not sign a treaty giving away our land for nothing. We signed treaties that ensured a continuing government-to-government relationship on an equal basis with the United States. So, I strongly support – and so does history and the law – the enactment of the RESPECT Act.” – Matthew Fletcher, Director & Professor of Law, Indigenous Law and Policy Center, Michigan State University College of Law

“This is just a simple step in the right direction to fulfill our nation’s legal and moral obligation to Indigenous communities and tribes across the country.” - Drew McConville, Senior Managing Director for Government Relations, The Wilderness Society

“Consultation with tribal governments should not be aspirational. It should not be a recommendation. We’re glad to see the RESPECT Act, which would make consultation mandatory.” - Rico Frias, Executive Director, Native American Finance Officers Association

“Currently, consultation occurs inconsistently across federal and government agencies despite the incredible power imbalance. Too often this results in communities having little say and no recourse. This dismissive attitude directly descends from the settler-colonial foundation of our nation and has no place in this modern day and age.” - Raquel Dominguez, Policy Associate, Earthworks

“For generations, Native educators have urged policy makers to work collaboratively with them. The federal trust responsibility upheld by the Supreme Court places the responsibility for meaningful consultation squarely on federal agencies.” – Chris Topoleski, Legislative Director, National Indian Education Association

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