Press Release ● Energy and the Environment
For Immediate Release: 
December 11, 2018
Contact Info: 
Annaliese Davis 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02), Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), and tribal leaders from across the country to mark the 58th anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and stand with the Gwich’in Nation in opposition to destructive drilling there. Below is a transcript of his remarks:

“I am proud to stand here with Chairman Grijalva, Mr. Huffman, Mr. Gallego, tribal leaders, and native Alaskans whose identity, culture, and way of life are deeply tied to their lands.

“For the Gwich’in, this issue is about more than protecting vulnerable wildlife, like the caribou. It is about protecting a people, who for thousands of years have relied on the lands and waters of Northern Alaska for their survival and for their cultural life. The Trump-Republican agenda isn’t just bad for families, which it is; for public health, which it is; and the environment, which it is. It’s particularly disastrous for native peoples. When we talk about the Arctic Refuge or Bears Ears or other sacred places, policymakers need to remember there are communities there who deserve respect, and dignity, and who need to have their voices heard first.

“That’s why you’re here. To have your voices heard. To have your presence felt. To make sure that your Representatives remember, and honor, and respect your values and survival.

“Instead, the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans are putting the profits of big corporations over our native communities. That is wrong and should not be done. As a country we must respect the human rights of all of our people and their way of life.

“House Democrats in our new Majority will work to protect Native Americans and Alaskan Natives in every part of our country. We will work with them and listen to them as we create policies that preserve the natural environments they cherish, and we cherish as well.

“Thank you. Thank you for what you have done through the years. Let me assure you that we understand that we have not treated our Native Americans as we should. We have a moral responsibility. We have some legal responsibilities, but we have moral responsibilities we need to meet.

“I am here as the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives on January 3, saying we will remember, we will honor, and we will work with you to preserve, and protect, and uplift a culture and people so important to our country. Thank you very much.”