As Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus and Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Energy and Minerals Subcommittee, I am acutely familiar with the challenges facing the West. President Obama and his agency minions stifled energy production on public lands, locked-up massive amounts of our land through executive fiat, attempted to seize our water, issued an onslaught of new regulations that killed energy jobs, and implemented a backwards strategy for managing our nation's forests that failed the West and placed our communities at risk.
Less than 17% of the land in Arizona is private land. This creates a significant burden for local governments in Arizona as they miss out on substantial tax revenues that typically fund essential services like roads and education. I support full-funding for programs like PILT and SCAAP until a period in time when our lands are returned to the states and private ownership.
The Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act
There are very few types of laws Congress can pass that facilitate the creation of wealth and energy security. I have championed one such initiative: the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act. After years of legislative hearings and executive branch hurdles, Senator McCain and I were finally able to get this bill over the finish line and signed into law. This bipartisan legislation facilitates a land exchange between the federal government and private industry so that it may mine copper, one of Arizona’s most valuable and abundant resources. Even modest economic estimates project that the land exchange facilitated by this act will lead to 3,700 jobs and will have a total economic impact to the State of Arizona to the tune of $61.4 billion over the life of the mine. Once the operation is running, the mine will provide 25% of the United States’ copper supply and will be the largest copper mine in North America. CLICK HERE to read more about the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act.
Keeping Lake Havasu Open for All Users
Another big victory came in Lake Havasu City, where we were able to lead a grassroots effort to keep Lake Havasu open for all users. When the Fish and Wildlife Service attempted to close down significant areas on Lake Havasu to motorized boating activities, I led the charge to get the agency to withdraw its 2016 proposal and passed an amendment through the House to reopen the part of the reservoir that was shut down in 2015 for no good reason. I even got a bureaucrat reassigned for his role in this overreach. Click HERE to read more.
The Cottonwood Land Exchange Act
The Embry-Riddle Tri-City Land Exchange Completion Act
Preventing the BLM from Closing its Arizona Field Office
I led the charge in preventing the BLM from closing its Arizona field office and moving all those employees to New Mexico. On May 6, 2015, Congressman Pearce, several of our colleagues and I contacted BLM Director Neil Kornze strongly opposing the proposed merger. To read more about this effort click HERE. On May 18, 2015, senior members of the House Natural Resources Committee, the House Committee of Oversight and Government Reform and I led another effort strongly discouraging this merger and asking pointed questions. As a result of our efforts, we were able to get language into the House Interior and Environment Appropriations bill report directing BLM not to merge the Arizona and New Mexico field offices. Thankfully, the BLM heard our concerns and sent me a letter informing me that the agency had decided to ditch this misguided merger proposal. To read more about this successful effort click HERE.
Preserving the Rainbow Trout Stocking Program at the Willow Beach Fish Hatchery
In November 2013, the Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) arbitrarily changed the priorities for the five different propagation program categories and announced their intent to close propagation programs and possibly hatcheries throughout the nation in fiscal year 2015. The USFWS also terminated the rainbow trout stocking program at the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery in Arizona threatening 1,700 jobs and $75 million in associated economic output. Rather than producing trout that help drive Arizona’s economy, the Fish and Wildlife Service wanted to focus on producing humpback chubs and razorback suckers that nobody wants. I had to hammer a few bureaucrats, pass a bill through Committee and have several Arizona witnesses testify at a hearing in order to resume this important program. CLICK HERE to read more.
Blocking the EPA's Harmful WOTUS Regulation
The EPA’s new Waters of the U.S. regulation (WOTUS) under the Obamad Administration was a job-killing, overreaching water grab being imposed by Washington bureaucrats. This overreaching regulation was a dream killer for future generations that caused significant job losses and considerable harm to our economy. WOTUS contradicted prior Supreme Court decisions by expanding agency control over 60% of our country’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands that were previously non-jurisdictional. I have been fighting this overreach since the beginning. In May 2014, I sent a letter calling for WOTUS to be withdrawn. I held a hearing in Phoenix in June 2014 where we heard testimony from 9 Arizona witnesses. I introduced legislation, inserted funding riders into appropriations bills, blocked a democrat amendment that tried to strip one of my WOTUS riders and voted at least five different times for legislation that has passed the House to block WOTUS. In July 2015, I berated EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and submitted revelatory evidence into the Congressional Record from senior Army Corps of Engineer employees which expressed serious legal and scientific deficiencies with the final draft of the WOTUS rule. In January 2016, the House and Senate passed legislation blocking WOTUS utilizing the Congressional Review Act and put a bill on President Obama's desk that he vetoed. Finally, in September of 2019, WOTUS was repealed. CLICK HERE to read more.
Fighting back against Obama's War on Coal
The Obama Administration implemented the “Clean Power Plan” rule to attack coal and kill jobs throughout the country. American families are projected to lose almost $600 billion in disposable income as a result of EPA’s new proposed regulation. An economic analysis found that this overreaching Washington mandate would kill 226,000 jobs annually and cost our economy $50 billion each year. All of this economic harm and destruction for our economies would only result in a 1.8% reduction of global carbon-dioxide emissions by the year 2030. I cosponsored legislation and twice voted for bills that passed the House to block this overreach. I also requested a funding rider that was inserted into a House appropriations bill and offered an amendment to formally withdraw this new mandate. The House successfully passed S.J.Res.23 and S.J.Res.24 with my support and triggered the Congressional Review Act to effectively block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) arbitrary regulations for new and existing power plants. Unfortunately, President Obama used a pocket veto days before Christmas in order to veto these critical pieces of legislation. CLICK HERE to read more.
National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act
I am an original cosponsor of the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act. This commonsense legislation will create hundreds of thousands of jobs by reducing U.S. dependence on foreign minerals from countries like China. The bill streamlines the regulatory review process and eliminates unnecessary red tape that is blocking job creation. CLICK HERE to read more.
Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act
In the 113th Congress, I voted for the bipartisan Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act. This legislation was estimated to create an estimated 1.2 million jobs, lower gas prices for hard-working American families and generate more than a billion for our economy.
Travel and Resource Access Including Local Stakeholders (TRAILS) Act
In the 113th Congress, I introduced the Travel and Resource Access Including Local Stakeholders (TRAILS) Act to protect approximately 40,000 jobs and $4 billion for Arizona’s economy associated with off highway vehicle (OHV) recreation. The BLM in Arizona had been in the process of developing a Travel management Plan for parts of Southwestern Arizona, named the La Posa Travel Management Plan. Previous media reports indicated the BLM was looking at closing as many as 51 percent of all trails with this management plan. My legislation required the agency to work with local communities to ensure this important industry was protected and these jobs are preserved. CLICK HERE to read more.
The Native American Energy Act
The House passed the Native American Energy Act with my support. This legislation empowered tribes to utilize energy production and streamlined many of the duplicative federal regulatory hurdles that prevent tribes or individuals from profitably developing energy resources on their land. CLICK HERE to read more.
Increasing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Exports
I cosponsored and voted for Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act. This commonsense legislation, which passed the House, streamlined the permitting process and allowed our country to export more liquefied natural gas. The American Petroleum Institute estimated that by 2035 “LNG exports could contribute as much as $10 to $31 billion per state to the economies of natural gas-producing states…Natural gas-producing states could see employment gains as high as 60,000 to 155,000 jobs…Non-natural-gas-producing states will also benefit…[and] see economic gains as high as $2.6 to $5.0 billion per state. CLICK HERE to read more.
Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act
I voted for and the House passed H.R. 2728, the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act. This legislation protected American jobs and energy production by preventing the Obama Administration from imposing duplicative federal regulations for hydraulic fracturing. An economic analysis found that these overreaching new mandates would have cost our economy approximately $350 million annually and would jeopardize nearly 1.7 million American jobs. CLICK HERE to read more.
Lifting the Oil Export Ban
I was a cosponsor of three pieces of legislation that sought to repeal the antiquated oil export ban. This outdated policy was enacted in the 1970s when oil scarcity was an issue. Repealing the oil export ban has created millions of American jobs, lowered gas prices and fostered significant economic growth for our economy.
The Bill Williams River Water Rights Settlement
This bipartisan Gosar legislation signed into law facilitated the achievement of a fair and equitable settlement of certain claims within the Bill Williams River Watershed among the Hualapai Tribe, the U.S. Department of the Interior acting on behalf of itself and as trustee for the Tribe and, its members, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, and Freeport-McMoRan. The agreements codified by this act provided certainty for the Bagdad Mine, which has an annual economic impact of $339.1 million to the state of Arizona, and sustains nearly 4,000 direct and indirect jobs. Arizona and Mohave County further benefitted from the bill as this legislation resulted in an overall net water use reduction in the basin and County of nearly 30,000 acre-feet per year. Mohave County further benefitted by keeping 175 mining jobs and $16 million in economic benefit. A legal review about this law was released on June 25, 2015, by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service confirmed what I have been saying all along about the Bill Williams Water Rights Settlement: this law is a win-win for Arizona and for Mohave County. CLICK HERE to read more.
Increasing Water Storage and Supporting Western Drought Solutions
The House has passed at least three Gosar amendments to protect Western water supplies and to increase water storage. The Gosar-Newhouse amendment prevented any appropriations from being used to remove any federally-owned and operated dams. Extremist environmental groups have been pushing for their removal in recent years. These dams are critically important to provide water storage and irrigation for agriculture. I also passed two other amendments transferring appropriations from DOE’s slush fund to the Corps of Engineers Construction and Investigations budget to complete infrastructure programs that provided clean water and expanded water storage. CLICK HERE to read more.
Blocking the Forest Service's Flawed Groundwater Directive
The Forest Service under the Obama Administration proposed a sweeping Groundwater Directive under the guise of eliminating future litigation. That directive only caused further confusion and potential litigation. It has been universally recognized since a 1935 Supreme Court Case that the sole authority over groundwater resources belongs to individual states. Alarmingly, the attempted water grab by the USFS and its misguided groundwater directive was proposed without input from state or local leaders and without any meaningful outreach to water users themselves. I fought the proposed groundwater directive from the beginning and as a result of Congressional pressure from my colleagues and I, the Forest Service withdrew its overreaching proposed rule. CLICK HERE to read more.
The Bureau of Reclamation Transparency Act
I passed the the Bureau of Reclamation Transparency Act into law. This legislation requires a cost estimate and a detailed list of major repairs for BOR facilities. Such actions will allow for meaningful steps to be taken to address the maintenance backlog as well as ensure an abundant supply of clean water and power for future generations. This bipartisan legislation passed the House Natural Resources Committee in October 2015. CLICK HERE to read more.
The Water Rights Protection Act
The Water Rights Protection Act prevents the federal government from taking privately held water rights without just compensation. This would protect a variety of water users including rural communities, businesses, recreation opportunities, farmers and ranchers as well as other individuals that rely on privately held water rights for their livelihood. It does so by prohibiting federal agencies from extorting water rights through the use of permits, leases, and other land management arrangements, for which it would otherwise have to pay just compensation under the 5th Amendment of the Constitution. I played an active role in assisting my good friend and Colleague Scott Tipton in passing this legislation through the House multiple times. This legislation is necessary as the Forest Service and BLM have been aggressively pursuing such takings for several years now.
Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act
The Tipton-Gosar Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act passed Congress and was signed into public law. This bill eliminated duplicative regulations that were stymieing development on irrigation canals. Specifically, it would allow Arizonans that operate existing irrigation canals and ditch systems--man-made canals and pipes-- to install hydropower generators. To be clear: we are not talking about free-flowing rivers or streams. These are man-made structures that have already gone through environmental review. These canals do not contain endangered fish or wildlife. This commonsense legislation will create jobs in rural Arizona, increase our country’s renewable energy portfolio, and generate revenues for the federal treasury by cutting duplicative, bureaucratic red tape. CLICK HERE to read more.
Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act
The majority of my Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act, H.R. 1345 was signed into law as part of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (H.R.2642). My bill authorized important stewardship contracting, good neighbor authority as well as important insect and disease infestation designations. This commonsense legislation reduce government bureaucracy so that wildfire prevention projects can move forward quickly when the public is at risk. CLICK HERE to read more.
The State of Arizona is comprised of approximately 114,000 square miles of total land. Unfortunately, nearly 50% of that land is now owned by the federal government and less than 17% of our state's land is private land. Shockingly, the federal government now owns 650 million acres and 90% of federally owned land is located in the Western half of the United States. Eastern policymakers and bureaucrats in Washington D.C. fail to grasp the true negative impact to the West and local communities of locking up hundreds of millions of acres of public land. Local property and sales taxes typically fund county governments allowing them to provide essential services like law enforcement, infrastructure and education needs. The inability for counties to collect local taxes on federal lands is particularly burdensome, especially when counties often provide critical services on these very lands. PILT funding helps offset the losses of these critical revenues and allows for the continuation of essential services. PILT payments are distributed to 49 different states and nearly 2,000 counties throughout the nation. The federal government owns too much acreage and should return land to the states and private ownership. Either give us our land or give us our PILT. I have led multiple efforts to ensure full PILT payments. CLICK HERE and HERE to read more about those efforts.
The Historic Routes Preservation Act
I joined several of my colleagues in introducing the Historic Routes Preservation Act, legislation which allows local counties to resolve public lands right-of-way disputes without going to court. This bipartisan bill provides a useful tool for cleaning up maps in western states and allows confirmation of rights-of-way on public lands through an administrative process, as opposed to the current expensive judicial process. Counties throughout the West shouldn’t have to spend precious resources on litigation in order to keep public roads open, especially when counties have been paying to maintain these roads for decades. This bill provides a commonsense solution that will maintain public access and prevent government bureaucrats from arbitrarily closing historic routes. CLICK HERE to read more.
The House has voted 11 different times since I’ve been in Congress to approve the Keystone Pipeline. The State Department found back in January of 2014 for the second time that the pipeline would have NO significant impact on climate change. Conservative estimates from the State Department at that time also projected that the Keystone XL Pipeline would support more than 42,000 jobs. Moreover, it has bipartisan support - even labor unions support it. The ONLY thing holding this up is politics. CLICK HERE to read more.
The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act
Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are an integral part of the United States’ “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. Our nation’s public lands can play a critical role in supporting that mission, but uncertainty in the permitting process impedes or delays our ability to harness their renewable energy potential. To address this problem, I introduced the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act. This bipartisan legislation streamlines the permitting process for wind, solar and geothermal energy projects on public lands, does not require federal subsidies, and creates a revenue source to assist local governments in their efforts to deliver critical services. The bill establishes a revenue sharing mechanism that ensures a fair return for all and distributes rents and royalties by returning 25% to the state where development occurs, 25% to the counties of origin, 25% is deposited into a fund for sportsmen and conservation purposes, including increasing access to outdoor recreation, 15% is directed for the purposes of more efficiently processing permit applications and reducing the backlog of renewable energy permits, and 10% is directed for deficit reduction. Since federal lands are not taxable, state and local governments deserve a share of the revenues from the sales of energy production on lands within their borders. CLICK HERE to read more.
Increasing Public Access
I voted in favor of the Public Access and Lands Improvement Act a package of 10 bills aimed at increasing and preserving public access to federal lands, facilitating responsible economic development and encouraging transparent land management. The bill passed the House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 220-194. This legislation cut red tape that prevents tourism and economic development on public lands as well as increased public access to important recreation and conservation areas. This important bill provided greater certainty to ranchers and farmers by increasing the length of new grazing permits on public lands and streamlines the actual grazing permitting process. The package was also good for our environment and good for small businesses as it expedited removal of salvageable timber which would greatly benefit the forest products industry and reduce the threats of dangerous wildfires. This legislation is a great start to long overdue public lands reform.
The Bipartisan Meers Point Boundary Clarification Act
I introduced the Meers Point Boundary Clarification Act. For years, property owners in Meers Point, Arizona have been dealing with a situation where the federal government technically owns part of their living rooms and properties. This long overdue and commonsense clarification will finally allow these land owners to have a clear title for their lots and will remove regulatory hurdles that are preventing real estate transactions. CLICK HERE to read more.
The Grand Canyon Bison Management Act
The Grand Canyon is plagued by an invasive hybrid species, part buffalo and part cattle, known as 'beefalo.' These massive animals are trampling park land, defecating in water holes, destroying historically significant Native American landmarks and affecting public safety on roads and trails. Their numbers have grown out-of-control and government bureaucracy is preventing the herd from being properly culled. To deal with this problem, I introduced the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act. This legislation was passed by unanimous consent by the House Natural Resources Committee as an amendment to the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act. This bipartisan and bicameral legislation called for a strategic management plan that allows volunteer hunters to keep the beefalo meat in exchange for their work helping protect the Park. Not only will this solution save taxpayer money, but this bill would have generated new funds for habitat conservation and management. As your Congressman, I will continue to fight for commonsense measures that save taxpayers money and put Arizona sportsmen to work doing what they love. CLICK HERE to read more.
The Endangered Species Act
Frivolous lawsuits from extremist environmental groups and federal agency endangered species actions continue to hammer western states and stifle local conservation efforts. To make matters worse, these listing decisions are usually based on secret science and pseudo-science, including studies that do not allow for peer-review of the underlying data. Even more troubling is the fact that attorneys have been making millions of dollars based on lawsuits associated with the Endangered Species Act and that the federal government doesn’t even know how much money has been paid out. The Western Caucus has spearheaded numerous legislative packages to modernize this outdated law. CLICK HERE to read more.
The Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act
The House passed this bipartisan bill requiring tracking and disclosure of attorney fees paid out from environmental lawsuits. Prior to 1995, EAJA payments were approximately $3 million dollars annually. Unfortunately, EAJA operated in the dark for more than 20 years and payments skyrocketed. The Government Accountability Office confirmed that we didn’t even know the totality of these costs as most federal agencies didn’t even bother trying to compile this information. The Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act tracked how much money is paid out under EAJA, and more importantly, from which agencies. CLICK HERE to read more.
Blocking the Sonoran Desert Tortoise Listing
The House passed the Gosar amendment to block the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from listing Sonoran Desert Tortoise (SDT) as an endangered or threatened species. This listing would have tied up 15 million acres with new regulations and red tape. Specifically, a listing would have been detrimental for 273 different grazing allotments and jeopardized nearly six million acres used for livestock grazing. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service subsequently announced that the Sonoran desert tortoise was removed from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) candidate list. CLICK HERE to read more.
The Bipartisan Mexican Wolf Transparency and Accountability Act
I introduced the bipartisan Mexican Wolf Transparency and Accountability Act. This commonsense legislation sought to ensure that the Obama Administration's new regulations for the nonessential experimental population of the Mexican wolf under Section 10(j) and listing the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies—had no force or effect. These actions were necessary to protect local communities and rein in the Service for failing to comply with federal law before implementing this new directive. This bill was supported by: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Public Lands Council, Americans for Limited Government, Arizona Cattleman’s Association, Arizona Farm Bureau, Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association, Arizona Cattle Feeders' Association, Arizona Association of Conservation Districts New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, Coconino County Farm Bureau and Cattle Growers Association, Yavapai Cattle Growers Association, Navajo/Apache Cattle Growers Association, Greenlee Cattle Growers Association, La Paz Stockmen’s Association, Mohave Livestock Association, Gila County Cattle Growers Association, Maricopa County Cattle Growers Association, Cochise /Graham Cattle Growers Association, Southern Arizona Cattlemen's Protective Association. CLICK HERE to read more.