News Release

Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee

The Natural Resources Committee is holding three livestreamed events this week.

Wednesday, May 12th

Full Committee

The full Committee, led by Vice Chair Gregorio Sablan (D-CNMI), will hold a legislative hearing on H. Res. 279, the “Insular Cases Resolution,” which recognizes that the legal arguments used to deny rights and benefits to citizens living in U.S. territories are based on the discriminatory and unconstitutional principle of ‘separate but equal.’ The resolution, introduced by Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), has bipartisan support.

  • H. Res. 279 (Rep. Raul Grijalva) To acknowledge that the United States Supreme Court’s decisions in the Insular Cases are contrary to the text and history of the United States Constitution, rest on racial views and stereotypes from the era of Plessy v. Ferguson that have long been rejected, and should be rejected as having no place in United States constitutional law.

“The insular cases belong to a very dark chapter of U.S. history, when doctrines of ‘separate and unequal’ and attitudes about racial inferiority explicitly defined the country’s laws,” said Chair Grijalva this week in a statement to the Guam state legislature. “We cannot erase this harmful past, but as legislators we have an obligation to make sure its legacy does not extend into the future.”

Despite its antiquated reasoning, the territorial incorporation doctrine resulting from the Insular Cases continues to be cited by federal courts to this day as justification to deny territory residents access to federal programs, fair taxation, and voting rights. Though this resolution would not overturn the decisions in the Insular Cases, this historic resolution would establish that the House of Representatives formally believes they should not be treated as precedent.

Invited witnesses include:

  • Rep. Stacey E. Plaskett (D-V.I.)
  • Dr. Daniel Immerwahr, Professor, Department of History, Northwestern University
  • Neil Weare, President, Equally American
  • Hon. Tina Muña Barnes, Vice Speaker, Guam Legislature
  • Rose Cuison-Villazor, Professor of Law and Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar, Rutgers University

When: 1:00 p.m. Eastern time

Watch Live: https://bit.ly/3bc4C1l (Facebook) or https://youtu.be/_ZYBMHLn1mM (YouTube)

Thursday, May 13th

Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States

The Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States (SCIP), led by Chair Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.), will host a virtual, fully remote oversight hearing titled Environmental Justice in Indigenous Communities.

Environmental justice looks different for Indigenous communities. Indigenous cultures are inextricably bound to the environment, and tribal lands occupy millions of acres of land and mineral estates. Historically, federal policies facilitated the exploitation of natural resources on or near tribal land without tribal consultation and input. Indigenous perspectives and incorporating Indigenous knowledge are key to understanding environmental justice. This hearing seeks to incorporate the traditional knowledge of Indigenous communities into ongoing environmental justice efforts.

Invited witnesses include:

  • The Hon. Mike Faith, Chairman, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
  • Herb Lee, Jr., Executive Director & CEO, Pacific American Foundation
  • Minority Witness TBD

When: 10:00 a.m. Eastern

Watch Live: https://bit.ly/3f5ExlI (Facebook) or https://youtu.be/er1eQGvUxqY (YouTube)

Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources

The Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, led by Chair Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), will host a virtual, fully remote legislative hearing titled Protecting Coastal Communities and Ocean Resources from Offshore Drilling, including the following bills and other related measures.

  • H.R. 570 (Rep. Donald McEachin) To require operators of offshore oil and gas facilities to report failures of critical systems to the Secretary of the Interior, and for other purposes. Offshore Accountability Act
  • H.R. 2643 (Rep. Julia Brownley)
  • H.R. 2836 (Rep. Kathy Castor) To amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit oil and gas preleasing, leasing, and related activities in certain areas of the Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of Florida, and for other purposes. Florida Coastal Protection Act
  • H.R. ___ (Rep. Frank Pallone) To amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to permanently prohibit the conduct of offshore drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Atlantic, and Straits of Florida planning areas. COAST Anti-Drilling Act
  • H.R. ___ (Rep. Mike Levin) To amend the Outer Continental Shelf Land Act to prohibit oil and gas leasing in the Southern California planning area. American Coasts and Oceans Protection Act
  • H.R. ___ (Rep. Jared Huffman) To amend the Other Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit oil and gas leasing in certain areas of the Outer Continental Shelf. North Pacific Ocean Protection Act

The subcommittee is considering these bills after four years of attempts by the Trump administration to open more than 90 percent of America’s coasts to more oil and gas drilling. As a group, these bills would permanently protect offshore waters from the threat of fossil fuel exploration and development, as well as the hundreds of thousands of jobs supported by clean, healthy shorelines. Protecting coastal communities from drilling is a bipartisan goal of lawmakers and the public.

Invited witnesses include:

  • Dr. Cliff Kapono, Professional Surfer, Chemist, and Journalist
  • Cyn Sarthou, Executive Director of Healthy Gulf
  • Terra Lawson-Remer, Supervisor, District 3, San Diego County, Calif.
  • Tom Kies, President, Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast
  • Minority witnesses TBD

When: 1:00 p.m. Eastern time

Watch Live: https://bit.ly/3vQzoEZ (Facebook) or https://youtu.be/sFW5fCqST2A (YouTube)

Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee, Grijalva