Democratic Congressman Says Stop Drilling And Mining On Federal Lands While The Public Is Denied Access

Federal Lands: Rep. Grijalva Says Drilling Should Stop While Closed

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-AZ, is asking the government to halt all mining, drilling, and logging activity on federal lands while they are closed . Image: Navajo Nation Washington Office

Congressman Raul Grijalva, D-AZ, is asking the government to halt all mining, drilling, and logging activity on federal land as long as government employees are furloughed and the American public is shut out. In a letter to both Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior, and Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, Grijalva makes a persuasive case that calls not only on fairness but expresses concern for the damage that can be done when proper oversight is not available.

Working on federal lands not safe without proper supervision and first-responders.

On October 3rd, he wrote:

The lack of oversight of these potentially hazardous activities greatly concerns me, especially because of the scarcity of manpower to respond to emergencies, pollution issues or other rapid response needs.

On the issue of fairness, he sympathizes not only with the average citizen, but also all the small businesses that are affected by the shutdown of parks, monuments, wildlife refuges and other federal lands. The concessionaires, river and tour guides, as well as the many, many small businesses in towns across the nation that depend on the tourism these places attract are suffering significant financial damage. Yet, big corporations continue to rake in their profits. Grijalva requests the ‘immediate cessation’ of their activities.

Understanding that his voice alone is not enough, the Congressman began an online petition asking other Americans to join his effort. The petition will be presented to the two Secretaries. In it, he points out that federal lands are owned by the public. He says:

Fossil fuel and logging companies shouldn’t have special access to our lands while rangers, hikers and the rest of us are locked out.

You can access the petition here.

In an interesting twist, the only news reports on Grijalva’s action seem to be in the conservative media, particularly Fox News and The Washington Free Beacon. The latter describes Rep. Grijalva, the ranking Democratic member of the House Natural Resources subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, as “a long-time foe of the energy industry.” What they mean, of course, is one particular part of the industry: the part that deals in fossil fuels. The article also cites Grijalva’s opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline.

In an even more interesting twist, The Washington Free Beacon provides a link to Grijalva’s online petition. Have conservatives gotten so used to calling up-down and down-up that they can no longer remember where they stand? In any case, the site probably deserves a thank-you note for helping preserve federal lands; the petition has almost reached its goal. Stop by and add your name. Pushing it over the top is the best response to conservatives that liberals could make.