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February 17th, 2021
Chair Grijalva Announces Vice Chairs, Subcommittee Chairs for 117th Congress, Looks Forward to Climate and Environmental Justice Collaboration

Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today announced the vice chairs and subcommittee chairs for the 117th Congress. The positions were chosen by the Democratic members of the Committee during their recently concluded organizing meeting.

The full Committee organizing meeting will be livestreamed tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time.

Vice Chair: Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.)

Vice Chair for Insular Affairs: Rep. Gregorio Sablan (D-CNMI)

Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources: Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.)

Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States: Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.)

Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands: Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.)

Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.)

Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife: Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.)

“Our country needs this Congress to accomplish extraordinary things on climate change and environmental justice, and this leadership team is already hard at work pushing solutions,” Chair Grijalva said. “Over the past two years we’ve heard from the public, we’ve heard from the experts, and we’ve heard from stakeholders around the country about how to build a sustainable economy and restore balance to our environmental laws. We know what we need to do, and our whole team is united around the need to do it. The American people can expect to see a major push from us to create good jobs, hold polluters accountable, and establish federal environmental justice standards with real teeth.”

“I’m so honored to be elected Chair of the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee as we begin critical work to preserve our public lands, restore our forests and protect our communities from record-breaking wildfires,” Rep. Neguse said. “Colorado is home to diverse and rich ecosystems, and treasured public lands that make up over 36 percent of our state, including 12 national forests. Our state’s robust outdoor recreation economy also inextricably links Colorado’s lands with our economic growth. As a result, the issues discussed in this Subcommittee have a profound impact on the health and safety of Coloradans, our local economies and every aspect of our environment. For Coloradans to have a voice as our Subcommittee takes up issues surrounding public land preservation, environmental sustainability and wildfire mitigation is absolutely crucial. I look forward to the work ahead for our climate, our lands and for Colorado.”

“I’m honored to be elected by my colleagues to continue my role as Chair of the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee,” Rep. Huffman said. “Over the past two years, we have done extraordinary work to improve the health of our oceans and economy of our coastal communities, respond to the threat of climate change on water supplies, and advance smart solutions to natural resources challenges. I’m looking forward to building on that progress during the 117th Congress to tackle some of the most challenging conservation policy problems of our time. With the new Biden administration and Democratic majority in both the House and Senate, we will finally have a whole-of-government approach to addressing the increasingly dire impacts of our changing climate and ensuring environmental equity for all communities.” 

“Californians are already experiencing the devastation of the climate crisis, including record wildfires and deteriorating air quality,” Rep. Porter said. “I’m humbled and excited to chair the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee to hold polluters accountable, safeguard all of our communities, and help spearhead solutions to the climate crisis.”

“I am honored that Chairman Grijalva and my colleagues entrusted me to serve as Chair of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States,” Rep. Leger Fernández said. “I thank them for their support and look forward to working closely with them. In the last year, the pandemic’s disastrous impact on Native American communities made our country aware of something that my district has known for too long – the United States has failed to meet its trust responsibilities to Native Americans, and the consequences are deadly and heartbreaking. We can and must do better. In New Mexico, we have a deep respect for our history and our twenty-three federally recognized Tribes who have shared with me their wisdom, challenges and vision during my three decades of work with them. I look forward to putting this experience to work for all of the Indigenous peoples of the United States. We must build on Chairman Grijalva and former Subcommittee Chair Congressman Gallego’s work to promote economic development and improve access to quality health care, broadband, education, child care and much more.”

“I want to thank Chair Grijalva for recognizing the importance of giving the insular areas this voice on the Committee,” Rep. Sablan said. “Many of the issues we face are shared with other areas of our nation—climate change, for instance. Often, however, these problems are accentuated by geography, culture, or our unequal political representation. As Vice Chair in the last Congress, I was able to hold a hearing on the Medicaid funding crisis the islands faced; and the crisis was averted. I hope to use this position as effectively in the 117th Congress.”

“It is an honor to continue serving in this role,” Rep. Lowenthal said. “I look forward to continuing the committee’s hard work to ensure that our federal lands serve as a best practice for energy development. It is critically important for us to begin to transition toward a more sustainable future through greater renewable energy development on public lands and offshore. I also look forward to working with the new Biden Administration to manage and oversee our national energy and mineral resources in a more sustainable way, to protect the public health of communities, and preserve our federal lands not just for Americans today, but for generations of Americans in the future.”

“I am honored to be appointed Vice Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources,” Rep. García said. “Under the leadership of Chairman Grijalva, the committee has worked hard to reverse the anti-science, anti-environment agenda of the Trump administration and ensure we end environmental racism, right the wrongs committed against indigenous peoples, and are better stewards of our environment and our planet. I look forward to the committee advancing an ambitious agenda to protect the rights of the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories, defend our public lands and waters, and ensure our children have a healthier, cleaner and safer future.”

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