Washington D.C. – The Center for American Progress (CAP) released a new report today highlighting the efforts of House Democrats “to reverse a decade of legislative obstruction and stagnation in U.S. land, water, and wildlife conservation.” The report contrasts the actions taken by the Democratic majority in the 116th Congress with the efforts by Republicans in previous Congresses, underscoring the many ways in which Democrats prioritize natural resource conservation for the benefit of the American people.
“Americans want their government to protect public lands and waters, not hand them over to polluters, and Democrats are listening,” Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said today. “Our quality of life depends on a more balanced approach to fossil fuel extraction, and our future depends on protecting the environment for the long term. The members of our Committee, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer know that maintaining the environmental status quo isn’t enough, and I thank everyone who has stood with me to pass the ambitious proposals and creative solutions this Committee has advanced since the beginning of this Congress.”
The full report, available at https://ampr.gs/38fkL1K, describes 10 bills passed by the U.S. House of Representatives – including one that has already become law – that in total protect 5.5 million acres of public lands and waters. It finds that during this Congress, the House has passed bills protecting nearly 5 times as many acres as the previous four Congresses combined.
Chair Grijalva has been a staunch opponent of President Trump’s anti-environmental efforts to gut our public lands by shrinking Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, open drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife refuge, and destroy the Bureau of Land Management, to name just a few of the more high profile examples in the Committee’s jurisdiction.
Since Grijalva became chair and Democrats took the House majority, the Committee has shepherded the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Actinto law, which permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund and protects millions of acres of public lands; passed the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act through the House; and already introduced and debated bold solutions to combat the climate crisis.
Last month’s passage of the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act was the latest in a string of climate-friendly measures the House advanced from the Natural Resources Committee.
- The House in December approved the Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act (H.R. 729), a package of 10 bipartisan coastal resilience bills 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.
- In October 2019, the House passed Rep. Joe Neguse’s (D-Colo.) Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, which designates wilderness areas, recreation management areas and conservation areas in Colorado; and Chair Grijalva’s Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act, which protects more than 1 million acres of public lands north and south of the Grand Canyon from new extraction activities.
- In September 2019, House Democrats passed a collection of bills to protect our nation’s pristine wilderness and coastal waters from destructive offshore drilling. That package included Rep. Joe Cunningham’s (D-S.C.) Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act, which prohibits oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic or in the Straits of Florida; Rep. Jared Huffman’s (D-Calif.) Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act, which protects the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling; and Rep. Francis Rooney’s (R-Fla.) Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act, which blocks offshore leasing in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.
- In April 2019, the House passed the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act (H.R. 2030), which implements a water-sharing agreement known as the Drought Contingency Plan between Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, California, New Mexico and Nevada that accounts for ongoing water shortages and regional climate change throughout the Southwest. The bill, authored by Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), became law and received unanimous praise from Colorado River basin states, tribes and other stakeholders.
The Natural Resources Committee 2019 Climate Action Report can be viewed at http://bit.ly/2sR8aTG.
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