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June 30th, 2020
Chair Grijalva Hails Climate Committee Recommendations – Highlights Public Lands Net-Zero Carbon Bill, Environmental Justice, Other Measures

Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva today congratulated the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and Chair Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) on today’s comprehensive report recommending a broad and aggressive policy approach to climate change. The Committee, Grijalva said, has done a vital public service in focusing on the greatest threat humanity faces and basing its recommendations on thorough public outreach.

Grijalva praised Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s determination to create the Committee and support its work, which now sets a baseline for climate policy in the Democratic Caucus. Having the Caucus support such a progressive and economically forward-looking approach, Grijalva said, is necessary if Congress is going to act in the necessary timeframe.

Grijalva highlighted the many bills in the Natural Resources Committee’s jurisdiction supported by today’s recommendations, including some that have already become law.

The report’s recommendation to focus on public lands conservation, for instance, is addressed in the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which became law in 2019 thanks in large part to Chair Grijalva’s tireless efforts, for which Speaker Pelosi thanked him during her signing ceremony. The law protects millions of acres of wilderness, permanently authorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and makes other key climate protection and adaptation advances.

Also in this Congress, the House has passed key priorities from the Committee, including Chair Grijalva’s bill to protect the Grand Canyon from new uranium mining claims; Rep. Ben Ray Luján’s (D-N.M.) bill to protect New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon from new fossil fuel extraction; Rep. Joe Neguse’s (D-Colo.) bill to preserve approximately 400,000 acres of public lands in Colorado, including 73,000 acres of new wilderness. and the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act, a suite of previously separate bills that together recognize more than 1.3 million acres of wilderness across the West and protect more than 1,000 river miles under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

The Select Committee report supports each of those bills.

Among many other measures in the Committee’s jurisdiction, today’s Climate Crisis report also endorses:

  • The American Public Lands and Waters Climate Solution Act (H.R. 5435) by Chair Grijalva, which directs the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the United States Forest Service (USFS) to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from public lands and waters by 2040;
  • The Environmental Justice for All Act(H.R. 5986) by Chair Grijalva and Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.), a landmark proposal created after more than a year of public input that improves access to clean air and water for disadvantaged communities and strengthens public input on major projects likely to impact environmental quality;
  • A series of bills – H.R. 205 by Reps. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) and Castor, H.R. 309 by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and H.R. 1941 by Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) – to prevent new offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, in the Arctic, and along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, respectively;
  • The Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act(H.R. 729) by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), a package of 10 previously separate coastal resilience bills with bipartisan support that aid coastal ecosystems and economies, improve ocean monitoring and research, and offer coastal managers tools to protect coastal communities most vulnerable to climate impacts;
  • The Methane Waste Prevention Act(H.R. 2711) by Rep. Diane DeGette (D-Colo.), which requires all oil and gas producers in the U.S. to take steps to capture any methane gas that reaches the surface at their well sites, instead of burning it off or simply letting it leak into the atmosphere (as Trump regulations currently allow);
  • The Transparency in Energy Production Act(H.R. 5636) by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), which mandated accurate reporting of fossil fuel extraction and emissions by entities with leases on public land; and
  • The Stop Giving Big Oil Free Money Act(H.R. 5186) by Chair Grijalva, which repeals a Newt Gingrich-era loophole in the Deepwater Royalty Relief Act of 1995 that allowed oil and gas companies to avoid paying approximately $18 billion in royalties to the American people between 2000 and 2018.

“Addressing climate change can’t be done with just one bill because the problem is caused by so many connected policy failures,” Grijalva said today. “The public rightly demands that Congress stop paying lip service to climate policy and start saving lives by making fundamental reforms. Today’s report is a testament to the important work being done in the Natural Resources Committee and by our colleagues in the House of Representatives to build a more sustainable future and end the environmental and economic injustices of the past.”

The House is approaching a vote on the Great American Outdoors Act, which would make full funding for LWCF permanent. That bill, which has already passed the Senate, is expected to be approved at the end of this month.

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