Grijalva Highlights Long List of Republican Attacks on Our Communities’ Health and Environment Ahead of State of the Union

Washington, D.C. – Ahead of President Trump’s State of the Union address, Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva’s (D-Ariz.) staff released a year-end report today titled, 2017: A Year of the Resistance to highlight the relentless attacks Republicans in Congress and the administration have made on our country’s foundational environmental policies. Republicans have successfully undermined key environmental laws and have introduced new pieces of legislation that put our public lands, waters, clean energy supply, and the health and safety of our communities at risk.

Earlier this month Committee Republicans released a 2017 Committee Accomplishments memo that revealed the majority’s top goal is to appease corporate special interests. The following is a summary of the top five actions Republicans have taken to advance their extreme anti-environment and health agenda:

  1. Instead of introducing a bill to re-examine the designation of Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante national monuments, Republicans in Congress encouraged President Trump to issue an executive order to reduce the monuments by more than 85 percent, opening the protected land to oil and gas drilling. Ranking Member Grijalva challenged the legality of the Trump administration’s actions, the lack of transparency in the review process, and failure to listen to the more than 2.5 million voices that opposed shrinking the monuments. Opening up our national monuments to drilling will ruin these special places forever and make them less accessible for people to enjoy today and for generations to come.
  2. In the midst of mass shootings across the country, Committee Republicans tried to disguise an NRA-backed bill as a sportsmen’s bill – the SHARE Act (H.R. 3668) – which would deregulate silencers and armor-piercing bullets. The bill passed through Committee without a single Democratic vote. Democrats responded by introducing a clean sportsmen bill, the ACCESS Act (H.R. 4489), that promotes hunting and fishing on public lands without the unrelated and extremist NRA provisions. 
  3. Republicans in Congress have been actively working to repeal or undermine bedrock environmental laws that protect our public lands and waters, ensure public input on local development projects, protect endangered or threatened species, and more. Committee Republicans have used infrastructure hearings as an opportunity to trample on these environmental laws, like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA), by wrongly blaming construction project delays on federal policies. Dismantling these common-sense safeguards puts species at risk and makes it easier for corporations to pollute our air and water. The Trump administration’s “infrastructure plan” is little more than a collection of extreme environmental waivers without any real federal funding investment. 
  4. Republicans have continuously pushed their “oil above all” agenda that favors the oil and gas industry’s interests ahead of all other uses of our public lands. Congressional Republicans included a provision in their corrupt tax bill that would open pristine land in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. In addition, a Republican-backed bill – the SECURE Act (H.R. 4239) – was introduced to make it easier to open our public lands to drilling. Ranking Member Grijalva responded with the Sustainable Energy Development Reform Act (H.R. 4426), which protects the Arctic Refuge and allows for safe and clean energy development. For a list of energy-focused Republican attacks on environmental laws and standards, visit: http://bit.ly/2DNeM5K.
  5. Despite having full control of the White House and Congress, Republicans have refused to address crucial issues that need action. This lack of leadership has had grave consequences as we battle natural disasters and climate change, sexual harassment, tribal issues, critical funding gaps for conservation programs, corruption, and environmental justice concerns. Democrats have focused on these areas, despite inaction from Republicans in Congress, because protecting communities from pollution, corporate interests, and climate change are the top priorities for Democrats.

The complete Democratic year-end report can be found here: http://bit.ly/2nkImJL.  

“This past year, Republicans in Congress showed they’re willing to gamble with the health and well-being of the American people to appease big corporate polluters,” Grijalva said. “They’re playing dirty politics. We’re watching their every move and challenging their actions by calling for effective oversight, elevating local voices at rallies and press conferences, and keeping the American public informed. We’re not going to stand on the sidelines as they tear down common-sense safeguards. Republicans in Congress and the White House are being held accountable for their actions, and we’re only going to ramp up that accountability this year.”

Ranking Member Grijalva and Committee Democrats spent 2017 challenging the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress by sending more than 45 letters questioning administration officials’ actions, calling for Congressional hearings, requesting five reviews by the Government Accountability Office and another four by the Interior Department Inspector General, publishing dozens of op-eds, and informing the public through traditional media and social media channels about Republicans’ anti-environment agenda. Grijalva introduced several bipartisan pieces of legislation and held Democratic forums and press conferences to ensure local communities still have a voice in the legislative process.

A complete list of 2017 Democratic actions is available here: http://bit.ly/2E05jM9.   

Press Contact

Diane Padilla

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