by Jim Nintzel
Southern Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva has landed the spot of ranking member on the House Natural Resources Committee. The bulletin from Grijalva's office:
Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) was elected Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, which is charged with preserving America’s public lands, nation’s parks, fisheries, wildlife, as well as oversight over Native American affairs and mineral land laws.
Grijalva, a life-long proponent of environmental stewardship, has served on the committee since arriving in Congress in 2003, and has held the distinction as the highest ranking Democrat on the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation since January 2007.
“I am honored to be elected Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee in the 114th Congress,” said Rep. Grijalva. “Our environmental protections will be challenged like never before under the Republican-controlled House and Senate, but under my leadership, Natural Resources Democrats will ensure the protections that took generations to build up will not be torn down.”
Grijalva’s ascent to the top Democratic seat comes after years of proactive work on the Natural Resources Committee. Over his 12 years of tenure, Grijalva authored four bills protecting the rights of Native Americans and providing vital services on reservations that have been signed into law. In 2008, Grijalva authored legislation that created the National Landscape Conservation System, which includes 877 federally recognized areas and approximately 30 million acres of National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, National Scenic and Historic Trails, and Conservation Lands of the California Desert. In 2011, he worked closely with then-Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to have 1 million acres of land near the Grand Canyon withdrawn from the threats posed by Uranium mining for a minimum of 20 years.
“My drive and my passion as a legislator are for these issues and this committee,” Grijalva continued. “As Ranking Member, I will fight to ensure the American people are properly compensated for the minerals mined on federal land. I will continue my efforts to ensure oil companies don’t cut corners to place the pursuit of massive profits over the wellbeing of the American people. And while I will oppose Republican encroachments to environmental laws, I will work towards common ground wherever it can be found.”