Grijalva’s moment arrives as he takes Natural Resources gavel

The new House Natural Resources Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., has served on the panel since he first came to Congress in 2003. /Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call


New chairman brings progressive focus to often-contentious committee

By Jacob Holzman | Roll Call

As climate change and immigration lead priorities for the new House Democratic majority, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva may just be the man for the moment.

The question however is: Did Grijalva find this moment or did the moment finally find him?

“It took time,” the Arizona Democrat said. “I think people have come to the conclusion that one has to look beyond the obvious and understand that [on] environmental issues, particular to climate change, we’re all in the same boat.”

The 70-year-old son of a Mexican immigrant, Grijalva is the new chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. With it comes a platform to focus public attention, and legislation, on public lands and environmental issues with a progressive bent and a consideration of racial justice.

His committee’s first major hearing will be on the effect of climate change on public lands, Grijalva said. He also expects to hold hearings on the environmental complications of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall and has staked out a big policy fight by vowing to try to reauthorize the nation’s fishery laws, where climate change impacts will be an issue.

Republicans on the often-contentious committee likely will oppose many of Grijalva’s initiatives, and a Republican Senate majority, not to mention Trump, will stand in the way.

But environmental groups are excited about Grijalva.


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