TWS’ highest govt honor goes to House Natural Resources chair
The chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, has said that tending to nature was a key part of what he did every day growing up on a ranch in southern Arizona.
It’s only fitting that in the years since, he has consistently played a leading role in efforts to tackle our most pressing environmental challenges in Washington, DC
“Chairman Grijalva’s extraordinary leadership ... has delivered tangible and historic conservation achievements, while always championing underrepresented voices in our nation.” - Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams
On June 23, The Wilderness Society presented its highest honor for government officials, the Ansel Adams Award, to Rep. Grijalva for four decades of public service, including nearly 20 years in Congress. Animated by a “profound dedication to advocating for protecting open spaces, environmental justice and taking bold climate action,” in the words of Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams, Chairman Grijalva “has delivered tangible and historic conservation achievements, while always championing underrepresented voices in our nation.”
- ...has been the driving force behind efforts to prevent uranium mining in the Grand Canyon watershed. Mining in the area around the canyon could taint drinking water relied on by nearby communities and threaten cultural sites significant to many Indigenous tribes. In his efforts to protect the watershed, Rep. Grijalva has incorporated input from Havasupai, Hualapai, Hopi, Navajo, Zuni, Paiute and Yavapai leaders.
- ...has consistently championed environmental justice, including by introducing ambitious legislation that would require the government to consider how permitting decisions affect community health before moving forward with projects.
- ...has been a stalwart advocate for Indigenous rights, including pushing for protection of important cultural sites and full involvement of tribal communities in managing their ancestral and present-day homelands.
- ...has spearheaded efforts to reform the U.S.’ badly outdated mining royalty practices. Proposals advanced by Rep. Grijalva would hold mining companies accountable for environmental damage and pay taxpayers their fair share.
- ...was the principal architect of a landmark 2019 bill that protected over 2 million acres of public lands and numerous historic sites, secured the Land and Water Conservation Fund and extended the popular “Every Kid in a Park” program.
- ...introduced legislation aiming to address the climate crisis by achieving net-zero emissions on public lands and waters by the year 2040. His bill was the first to propose reducing and offsetting emissions from new and old fossil fuel developments on public lands and waters as a way to cut climate emissions.
“When we protect our public lands and waters, we aren’t just safekeeping the nation’s natural resources, we are protecting our stories, our memories, and a legacy for our children and grandchildren," said Chairman Grijalva on receiving the award. "As climate change brings new threats to that legacy, we are called to double-down on our efforts to preserve it. But in doing so, we must honor and respect the voices of Indigenous Peoples and communities of color, which have been ignored in conservation decisions for far too long."