Grijalva tapped as Dem leader on Natural Resources cmte
U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva was elected Wednesday by House Democrats as the ranking member on the Natural Resources Committee.
Grijalva, just elected to his seventh term in Congress, has served on the committee since his first term, in 2003.
"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," said Grijalva, the co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus.
"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 well-being 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," Grijalva said in a press release.
Grijalva had vied for the post in 2012, but under the House's unofficial seniority system, the ranking member's seat went to U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon. This term, DeFazio will instead be the head Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The House Natural Resources Committee handles legislation dealing with America's public lands, national parks and fisheries, mining and wildlife regulations, as well as some oversight over Native American affairs.
Grijalva has focused his attention in recent years to issues before the committee, the release from his office said:
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he worked closely with then-Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to have 1 million acres of land near the Grand Canyon withdrawn from the threats posed by Uranium mining for a minimum of 20 years.