Energy and Natural Resources
Dr. Gosar sits on the House Committee on Natural Resources, an incredibly important committee for Arizona’s 4th Congressional District. The Committee has jurisdiction over federal water, land, energy, and Native American policies.
Paul is the Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals. Dr. Gosar is also the Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus.
In July of 2016, the House passed the first Interior Appropriations Act in seven years and Dr. Gosar played a huge role. The final bill contained numerous Gosar amendments and legislative initiatives including:
- Passing an amendment that defunded arbitrary boating restrictions on Lake Havasu that were implemented by the Fish and Wildlife Service in May of 2015.
- Passing an amendment that cut $70 million from the EPA and redirecting some of that money to prevent dangerous wildfires.
- Passing an amendment that prohibited the EPA and USGS from using unlawful guidance to expand jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.
- Leading the charge to defeat Rep. Grijalva’s northern Arizona land grab amendment by a vote of 225-202.
- Passing an amendment by a recorded vote of 219-203 to allow for state management of the Mexican wolf.
- Inserting a rider into the base bill that defunded EPA’s Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS).
- Ensuring full-funding for the Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.
- Inserting a rider into the base bill that prohibited funds for the job-killing “Social Cost of Carbon" model.
- Providing $2,000,000 in the base bill to combat invasive Quagga and Zebra Mussels.
- Directing the BLM to work with States to manage wild burro populations.
- Passing a provision through the House that prevents the president from unilaterally creating the proposed Grand Canyon Watershed, Sedona and Expanded Sonoran Desert Monuments.
As a son of a geologist, Paul knows the vast economic and mineral security benefits increased mining can provide. He has strongly advocated for increased, but environmentally sound mining as a method to spur rural Arizona’s economy.
Dr. Gosar spearheaded the effort to prevent the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) from enacting new boating restrictions on Lake Havasu and closing more areas to tubing, wake-boarding and water skiing activities. He passed an amendment through the House instructing the Service to reopen the area the agency shutdown in May 2015 through an unlawful press release two days before Memorial Day weekend. According to a July 2016 economic impact study, boaters on Lake Havasu support more than 2,000 jobs, spend more than $150 million annually and generate more than $63 million for the city's economy. As a result of Paul's efforts, the Service was forced to scrap their misguided proposal to close down more areas to recreational boating and to reopen the area the agency unlawfully closed in 2015.
In November 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) over-inflated the costs of repairing a broken water supply line by millions of dollars so it could arbitrarily terminate the rainbow trout stocking program at the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery and focus on raising chubs and suckers. This misguided bureaucratic decision threatened 1,700 jobs and nearly $75 million in associated economic output in Mohave County alone. In response, Paul introduced the Fish Hatchery Protection Act, H.R. 5026, which he successfully passed through the House Natural Resources Committee. Paul's bill and his berating of the Service’s deputy director saved the program and repairs were completed August 5, 2016.
The House passed three amendments in May of 2015 offered by Dr. Gosar that sought to protect Western water supplies and increase water storage.
Dr. Gosar is the first member of the Arizona Congressional Delegation to ever navigate the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act to House-passage. Not only did he pass this bill through the House multiple times but he was able to get this legislation signed into law in December of 2014. This critical bill facilitates a land exchange that will allow for the development of the largest copper mine in North America. The bill will create approximately 4,000 new jobs, generate $60 billion for Arizona’s economy and provide 25% of the United States’ copper supply. This important jobs legislation is also a conservation bill as it allows for the exchange of recreational and conservation areas that are greatly desired.
In February of 2014, Dr. Gosar’s Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act was signed into law. This important bill has created jobs, reauthorized stewardship contracting and good neighbor authority, and allowed for other proactive management programs in order to prevent dangerous wildfires.
The House passed the Native American Energy Act in October 2015. Dr. Gosar was the only cosponsor of this worthwhile legislation that will allow tribes to more efficiently develop energy resources on their land.
Paul led the charge to prevent the BLM from closing its Arizona field office and moving all of its employees to the New Mexico office. In May of 2015, Dr. Gosar led several of his colleagues in calling on the BLM to drop this proposed merger. In September 2015, the BLM finally announced it was scrapping this misguided proposal.
Paul introduced and passed the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act through the House in order to develop a strategic management plan for combating invasive beefalo in the Grand Canyon. These massive beasts are destroying Native American landmarks, trampling the park and causing public safety issues. Dr. Gosar’s bill allows volunteer hunters to keep the bison meat in exchange for their work to protect the Grand Canyon from the beefalo.
Dr. Gosar has strongly advocated for an all-of-the-above energy strategy. Paul has introduced legislation, the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act, that streamlines the permitting process for wind, solar, and geothermal energy development on public lands. The bill also establishes a fair revenue sharing mechanism that allows a portion of rents and royalties to go to the state, to the county of origin, to permit processing, and to sportsmen and conservation purposes which include increasing access for outdoor recreation like hunting and fishing. In July of 2016, the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on this bill and numerous witnesses, including Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson, testified in unanimous support.
Paul helped lead the charge to block the U.S. Forest Service’s sweeping Groundwater Directive that unnecessarily sought to increase agency control over private subsurface water rights. Thanks to significant pressure from Dr. Gosar and his colleagues, the Service withdrew this proposed mandate.
Paul has voted more than 10 times to approve the Keystone Pipeline. Conservative estimates from the State Department project that the Keystone XL Pipeline will support more than 42,000 jobs.
In April of 2014, the House passed four bills cosponsored by Dr. Gosar that made much needed improvements to the Endangered Species Act. These commonsense pieces of legislation saved taxpayer money and increased transparency, capped the hourly rate attorneys can charge taxpayers for Endangered Species Act lawsuits, ensured local involvement in the species conservation and designation process, and required the federal government to make ESA listing information available online.
In November of 2015, the House passed the Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Dr. Gosar and five of his colleagues to require that agencies track and disclose attorney fees paid out from environmental lawsuits. For more than 2o years, the federal government has refused to track these costs and we don’t even know how much taxpayer money is being squandered under this flawed system.
Dr. Gosar passed an amendment through the House to prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) from listing the Sonoran Desert Tortoise (SDT) as an endangered species. This listing would have locked up 15 million acres and prevented important agriculture, grazing and energy development activities. As a result of Rep. Gosar’s efforts and other conservation efforts, the Service announced in October 2015 that the agency was removing the SDT from the Endangered Species Act candidate list.