Rob Bishop

James Hansen, Long-Serving Utah Republican, Dies at 86
Former Ethics and Natural Resources chairman served from 1981 to 2003

Rep. James V. Hansen, R-Utah, on Feb. 19, 1989. (Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. James V. Hansen, a Utah Republican who served in the House from 1981 to 2003, died on Wednesday. He was 86. 

“With Congressman Jim Hansen’s passing, Utah has lost a true statesman. Whether it was in the Navy, in the state legislature, or in the halls of Congress, Jim served with honor and distinction, always putting principle before party and others before self. Utah would not be what it is today without Congressman Jim Hansen. I’m grateful to have known such a remarkable man and even more grateful to have called him a friend,” Utah GOP Sen. Orrin G. Hatch said in a statement announcing the news. 

Mounting Urgency, Bills Drive Environmental Lobbying Surge
Nature Conservancy: ‘Our science shows that we have a limited time to make big changes’

Sen. Lisa Murkowski supports a public lands package before the end of the year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Environmental groups that focus on land conservation ramped up spending in 2018 to back major public land bills that moved out of committee in October and September.

The increases show heightened bipartisan attention on two public lands initiatives pending on the House and Senate floors, including bills to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund program, and to use fees for mining and drilling for energy resources on federal lands to attack the Interior Department’s $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog at the nation’s national parks.

Ocelots, Butterflies in Path of Border Wall
As DHS waives its way across Texas, Congress is rethinking a thirteen-year-old law

Barriers at the southern border hem in more than people, environmentalists say. Wildcats, tortoises and other animals can get trapped. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

When rains pushed the Rio Grande River to flood stage in 2010, an existing border wall acted as a flood barrier, protecting some lowlands but also trapping some animals. A 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Sierra Club noted the discovery after the flooding of shells from “hundreds” of Texas tortoise, which that state lists as a threatened species.

“Animals caught between the river and the flood wall that could not escape around the edges of the floodwalls likely perished,” said the report. Endangered species like the ocelot and jaguarundi, both small wildcats, also might have died, according to the report.

Trump Tweet Jeopardizes Bipartisan Puerto Rico Bill
Grijalva: ‘It makes people that want to work on compromise become really suspicious’

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., said the president’s Puerto Rico tweets have fanned the flames of suspicion. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s comments defending his administration’s response to the hurricane that hit Puerto Rico last year may have stymied chances for a bipartisan bill to reduce politicization and patronage at the territory’s publicly-owned electric utility, which some see as a key impediment slowing modernization of the island’s grid.

House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop of Utah and ranking member Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona both say that action is needed to create safeguards to protect the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority from political influence.

She Has Congress’ Loneliest Job
Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner appeals to colleagues as anniversary of Hurricane Maria approaches

Jenniffer González-Colón, here at an October 2017 news conference on disaster funding, is Puerto Rico’s first female resident commissioner. And that’s not the only reason she stands out in Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In Congress, you have to know your place. Alliances matter, and traditions are as tough as weeds.

Not that Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s lone voice in Washington, needs reminding.

Another Day, Another Federal Intervention Spat for Puerto Rico
‘The people of Puerto Rico are not property,’ witness says at Natural Resources hearing

Rep. Rob Bishop called a Natural Resources Committee hearing to scrutinize the crisis at Puerto Rico’s “atypical” electric power company. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Exactly 120 years to the day after U.S. troops first landed on Puerto Rico, a debate over the island’s future played out once again in Washington. This time, all eyes were on its energy crisis.

Of the five witnesses who spoke Wednesday at a charged congressional hearing, only one was Puerto Rican, after Governor Ricardo Rosselló refused to attend.

Puerto Rico Governor Will Skip Hearing After Twitter Feud
No-show comes after Ricardo Rosselló demanded an ‘explicit, public apology’ for a tweet he found ‘shameful’

Rep. Rob Bishop leaves the Capitol Hill Club last month. The chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee hopes to find “common sense solutions” at tomorrow's hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated July 25, 11:45 a.m. | After a Twitter feud that further soured relations between the governor of Puerto Rico and the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, one seat will be empty Wednesday.

Governor Ricardo Rosselló will skip an oversight hearing on “mismanagement and disarray” at the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the island’s sole energy provider.

Feeling Dissed, Puerto Rico Governor May Skip House Hearing
Governor is ‘demanding’ an ‘explicit, public apology’ from Natural Resources chairman over tweet

House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop is facing pushback from the governor of Puerto Rico over a tweet. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The governor of Puerto Rico is threatening to withdraw from a scheduled appearance before the House Natural Resources Committee after the panel posted a tweet his office said was “shameful,” “hostile” and “condescending.”

The committee deleted a tweet from its Twitter account July 19 about its invitation for Gov. Ricardo Rossello to testify at a July 25 hearing, following a request from the governor to have it removed. Rossello is a member of both the New Progressive Party and the Democratic Party.

The Great Outdoors Threatened by a Funding Battle
Congress is divided on reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Stony Man Trail, part of the Appalachian Trail, winds through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The $887 billion outdoor recreational economy is a massive economic engine for rural areas. (Courtesy National Park Service)

Sen. Richard M. Burr’s sinking of the $14 billion rescissions package last month was not about saving the Energy Department loan guarantee program or children’s health care contingency funding — which represented the vast majority of the money on the chopping block.

The North Carolina Republican voted against the package because it would rescind $16 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund — which represented approximately 0.1 percent of all the funding in the bill.

Rep. Bishop Reminds Puerto Rico Oversight Board to Deal Fairly With Creditors
Utah Republican filed friend of the court brief Friday

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, filed a “friend of the court” brief with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit last Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Puerto Rico’s financial oversight board works to restructure the territory’s debt of approximately $70 billion, a new brief by Rep. Rob Bishop reminds it not to overlook the best interests of the island’s creditors.

The Utah Republican, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, filed a “friend of the court” brief last Friday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, cautioning in part that Puerto Rico would struggle to return to the capital markets if the oversight board did not “deal fairly with its existing creditors and respect their rights.”