Bishop and Grijalva: A Congressional Odd Couple

E&E profiles Reps. Rob Bishop and Raúl Grijalva, who maintain a cordial working relationship on the Natural Resources Committee despite their radically different political ideologies.

Reports Emily Yehle:

In recent interviews, both lawmakers sounded an optimistic note about this year, pointing to wildfire spending reform and a National Park Service centennial bill as “doable” goals. But Bishop is setting a high bar for any legislation: It must be a new approach that moves toward his idea of reform.


“The idea of passing a bill so everyone will vote for a bill so I can pat myself on the back and say I passed a bill — that is meaningless,” Bishop said on a recent weekday, adding that he is still willing to “play along” if legislation doesn’t do damage. “But there comes a point where it’s got to be making sure that we are still moving forward to something that is better.”


Grijalva, meanwhile, described his position as a defensive crouch.


“Our job given our status of minority party and given their agenda, we have to effectively and aggressively keep the worst from happening,” he said, defining “the worst” as “that the [Endangered Species Act] gets gutted, that the Clear Air Act, the Clear Water Act becomes toothless, that the extraction industry wins on our public lands and it becomes open season.”


The result is a congressional odd couple: Bishop, a witty and sometimes vicious skeptic of government, wants to reform the federal role in public lands and natural resources. Grijalva, an affable environmentalist, sees government as a partner in protecting America’s wildlife and landscapes.


Is there a middle ground?