Ranking Member Grijalva Questions Today’s GOP Attacks on Antiquities Act, Boundary Waters and Federal Use of Climate Science

Washington, D.C. – Ahead of this morning’s 10:00 a.m. hearing in the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) questioned Republicans’ insistence on blocking federal agencies from accounting for the social cost of carbon – an important measure of the cost to society of each ton of carbon pollution – in regulatory analysis. Grijalva also questioned Republican efforts to block the president from establishing new national monuments in Minnesota.

H.R. 3117, legislation sponsored by Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.), would force federal agencies to ignore the future benefits of regulations that cut greenhouse gas emissions, or to use unrealistically conservative estimates that contradict recent scientific findings. Draft legislation sponsored by Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) would reinstate mining leases that threaten the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and prevent presidents from using the Antiquities Act to establish any new national monuments anywhere in Minnesota without congressional approval – despite the fact that the law exists specifically to empower presidents to protect vulnerable sites.

Emmer’s bill also prevents the executive branch from withdrawing any federal land in Minnesota from new mining claims without congressional permission. The bill, if enacted, would prevent reasonable limits on mining on federal land like former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s 20-year moratorium on new mining claims within approximately 1 million acres of land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park, which he announced in 2012.

Both bills will be debated at today’s hearing alongside a bill by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).

“My Republican colleagues will tie the hands of any federal agency on climate change any chance they get, and then defend themselves by insisting climate change isn’t real anyway,” Grijalva said today. “Preventing agencies from measuring carbon impacts makes our health and environmental standards blind to what we’re doing to ourselves. This is exactly the kind of vote future generations will look back on with justifiable anger.”

The Minnesota bill is, in its own way, just as egregious, Grijalva said.

“Republicans have turned the Antiquities Act into their favorite punching bag and now set up a false choice at every federally protected site between environmental protection and job creation. The simple fact is that conserving land in a sustainable, publicly accessible way is good for local economies. The numbers are public and we all know it. Anyone who thinks these politicized attacks on our environment are good for business should ask Utah how it lost the Outdoor Industry Association’s lucrative annual trade show and consider how much this bizarre, unpopular campaign against public lands is really worth.”

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