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Jun 21, 2011

Reception Celebrates Representatives Raúl M Grijalva, Grace F. Napolitano and Ben Ray Luján


Three members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus were honored for their dedication to protecting the environment by The Wilderness Society at a Capitol Hill reception.

As part of Great Outdoors America Week  - and in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month – the three honorees are Representatives Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM).

“Latino lawmakers are important leaders in efforts to protect our air, water, and land,” said William H. Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society.  “We are proud to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring these three champions of America’s environment and the great outdoors.”

The honorees were recognized at a Sept. 20 reception during Great Outdoors America Week and National Wilderness Month. Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have a long and proud history of leading efforts to protect America’s green spaces and wild places.

Rep. Grijalva has fought tirelessly to protect the Grand Canyon from the threat of expanded uranium mining and to preserve wilderness areas and endangered species. He was the lead House sponsor of legislation to establish the National Landscape Conservation System.

“The diversity of this great nation of ours, and the protection of our national parks, and the expansion of our wilderness areas, and making the conservation system a real system with funding and appropriate attention - that’s going to happen as a consequence of the American people demanding that it happens,” Grijalva said.

Rep. Napolitano has focused her efforts on securing safe and reliable drinking water supplies. She has fought to clean contaminated groundwater at a Superfund site in east Los Angeles County, and to remove tons of uranium waste near the Colorado River and close to the town of Moab.

Family inspires her dedication. “I have 5 grown children, 11 grandsons, 3 granddaughters, a great-grandson and one on the way,” she said. “That’s my future. That’s the future that we all look for… I want to be sure that [wilderness] is going to be there for the future.”

Rep. Luján, co-chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is working to protect 236,000 acres of northern New Mexico public lands.  His legislation for a Rio Grande Del Norte National Conservation Area will include the Rio San Antonio Wilderness and Ute Mountain.

“Protecting these lands is much more than saving beautiful scenery,” he said. “It’s also preserving our cultural, traditional and historical resources which are important to the identity of all New Mexicans.”

The Wilderness Society looks forward to working with these dedicated conservation leaders who continue to protect our shared natural heritage for future generations.