ARIZONA DAILY WILDCAT 11/05/15
By Sebastian Laguna
Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva, Arizona’s representative from its 3rd Congressional District, has been working on several issues in Congress over the past weeks and has been outspoken on current events happening in Arizona.
One of the main areas where Grijalva has focused his efforts is on environmental issues.
Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, announced that it would be granting nearly $15 million for environmental improvements for tribal lands in Arizona.
“These grants will help support the significant accomplishments that have been achieved through the collaborative efforts of the tribes in Arizona and the federal government.” Jared Blumenfeld, the regional administrator for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest office, said in an article released by the EPA last week.
The main recipients of these funds will be the Havasupai tribe, the Tohono O’odham Nation and the Gila River Indian Community.
“Respect for the planet is part and parcel to daily life for native tribes, and I’m glad the EPA recognizes their tremendous contribution to conservation in Arizona,” Grijalva said in a statement released last week.
Grijalva went on to praise the ways in which the funds will be used to help the tribes maintain and preserve their lands. Of the funds granted, nearly $10 million will be allocated to help support water quality and infrastructure projects on Arizona tribal lands.
“The funds announced today will support water quality projects, watershed protection and restoration, water energy efficiency, wastewater reclamation and vital drinking water infrastructure,” Grijalva said on Oct. 27. “At the same time, the funds provide critical economic support, allowing tribes to build the capacity to carry out environmental work.”
The issue of the environment is one that Grijalva has always been vocal on. Previously, Grijalva was the ranking member on the Natural Resources Committee and currently serves as the ranking member for the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulations.
As a result, Grijalva has been uniquely positioned to influence issues concerning the environment.
In a Time Magazine op-ed published on Oct. 2 written by Grijalva and Michael Shank, a professor at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, they argue for more reform and regulation to help curb the effects of climate change and its impact on wasted food.
“The reforms we need are entirely within reach, provided we have the political stomach, if you will, to make sure all the world’s mouths are fed,” wrote Grijalva and Shank. “It starts with the reducing and recycling and requires a keen focus on solving the logistical challenges of getting appropriate food to those communities in need.”
In Congress, Grijalva recently voted against the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015.
The act established new responsibilities for federal agencies in the regulation of the extraction of strategic minerals and also provided for expanded judicial review of agencies in cases involving exploration and mining permits.
Some of the environmental issues that Grijalva has worked on include the preservation of the Grand Canyon, the preservation of Arizona’s natural resources, the National Landscape Conservation System — of which Grijalva was the lead sponsor of legislation in the House — and the overall effort to combat global climate change.
Grijalva has been deeply involved in environmental issues and has worked on efforts to conserve the land and resources of Arizona and throughout the country through his influence in Congress.