Monday, June 17, 2024

Transition Update: Congressman Raul Grijalva Could Become the Next Secretary of the Interior

Over the weekend, several news sources reported that Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) is the top name on Obama’s list to head the Interior Department, a job that would put him in charge of federal lands, national parks and endangered species.

As reported by, Grijalva recently lambasted the administration for poor treatment of national parks. He also opposed President George W. Bush’s recent decision to allow coal mining in Arizona. The Congressman also has introduced several pieces of legislation to restore and protect federal lands. He has also supported global warming legislation and funding for renewable energy.

Congressman Grijalva is chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands and was just tapped as the new co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Congressman Grijalva also sponsored the Borderlands Conservation and Security Act in 2007, which he introduced as a response to the Secure Fence Act of 2006. The Secure Fence Act granted the federal government permission to build a border fence between the U.S. and Mexico without consideration to the environmental impacts the wall would have on borderlands. Congressman Grijalva’s act called for allowing experts at the Department of Homeland Security to decide the best form of border security for a particular region, and for those officials to comply with laws protecting air, water, wildlife, culture, and health and safety. In addition, it called for the creation of a Borderlands Conservation Fund to help initiatives that mitigate damage to borderland habitat and wildlife

This announcement could not come at a better time; Last week it was reported that the Latino community had expressed discontent over the lack of Latinos being mentioned as possible candidates to serve in the Obama administration. However, this has changed now that Congressman Grijalva is being mentioned as a possible Secretary of the Interior. As well as with the announcement on Friday, that President-Elect Obama has asked Bill Richardson to serve as Secretary of Commerce. We look forward to hearing of more qualified Latinos being considered to serve in President Obama’s cabinet.