Last month, I had the opportunity to do something truly extraordinary: testify before a U.S. House subcommittee on behalf of legislation with genuine bipartisan support.
The hearing, held March 29 in the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife (WOW), drew little attention from the mainstream news media. But it is newsworthy nonetheless: The legislation would strengthen human rights protections for Indigenous peoples and local communities around national parks and other protected areas around the world, by conditioning U.S. funding for them on compliance with basic human rights protections.
It is especially remarkable in the current political environment that the bill resulted from a bipartisan investigation and that it has support from both Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.). As far as I know, it’s the first bill to be co-sponsored by these two influential lawmakers. Together with Jared Huffman (D-Cal.) and Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.), the chair and ranking member of the WOW subcommittee, Grijalva and Westerman introduced the legislation last month, a few weeks in advance of the subcommittee hearing.
The bill’s bipartisan support signals its potential to win broad-based support — which it fully deserves — in …