The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
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Green Groups Galvanize Behind Grijalva for Interior Secretary

106 Groups Say AZ Congressman Is Right Person to Reform Troubled Agency


A large, influential and growing coalition of conservation
organizations is building behind naming Congressman Raul Grijalva
(D-AZ) as the next Secretary of the Interior, according to a support
letter from more than 100 groups sent to President-elect Obama and
released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
(PEER). Rep. Grijalva now chairs the House Subcommittee on National
Parks, Forests and Public Lands which has jurisdiction over Interior
Department matters.

The 106 groups, based in states ranging
from New York and Virginia to Colorado and California, who signed this
latest letter represents some of the fast-developing support for
Grijalva spanning wildlife, land protection and good government groups,
as well as among congressional colleagues, notably Rep. Nick Rahall
(D-WV) who chairs the Natural Resources Committee. Scientists, tribes
and Latino organizations are also backing Grijalva.

Among the pluses highlighted in the new conservation support letter
is that Rep. Grijalva has a depth and breadth of experience in complex
natural resource issues at federal, state, tribal and county levels. In
particular, the letter cites his -

  • Assembling what is regarded as one of the most "far sighted
    endangered species protection plans in the nation" that minimized the
    need for litigation that has plagued Interior;
  • Expertise in drought management, a growing condition in the parched West; and
  • Leadership
    in "pressing Interior and other federal agencies to integrate global
    warming issues into their planning and permitting."

"Representative Grijalva is widely respected, with excellent state
and local relations, and a proven record of fairness, ethics and
conservation," stated Southwest PEER Director Daniel Patterson, who is
a newly elected Arizona State Representative who formerly worked with
the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which controls the most acreage of
any Interior agency. "Congressman Grijalva understands wildlife and
outdoors issues, as well as energy, water, tribes and natural resources

The next Interior Secretary will take over an agency badly shaken by
ethics scandals which saw, among other things, the imprisonment of its
top deputy, losses of tens of billions of dollars from under-collection
of oil royalties and, most recently, revelation of sex and drug parties
involving key Interior employees and oil company executives.

"Interior desperately need new leadership to restore ethics, science
and responsibility, and Rep. Grijalva has shown that he knows what
needs to done," Patterson added, pointing to a recent report compiled
by Rep. Grijalva outlining problems plaguing Interior operations.
"Throughout his career, Raul Grijalva has demonstrated that he is a
deft problem solver."

Letter signatories include Oregon Wild, Grand Canyon Trust,
Californians for Western Wilderness, The Fund for Horses, Center for
Sierra Nevada Conservation, Maricopa Audubon Society, Center for
Community Action and Environmental Justice, and Conservation Voters of
New Mexico.


Read the green group support letter for Rep. Grijalva

See the report by Rep. Grijalva on challenges facing national parks, forests and rangelands

Look at Interior ethics scandals during the Bush administration

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is a national alliance of local state and federal resource professionals. PEER's environmental work is solely directed by the needs of its members. As a consequence, we have the distinct honor of serving resource professionals who daily cast profiles in courage in cubicles across the country.