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The House Committee on Natural Resources considers legislation about American energy production, mineral lands and mining, fisheries and wildlife, public lands, oceans, Native Americans, irrigation and reclamation. Learn more about Republican Leader Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and meet all of the Committee Members.

The Committee is divided into five subcommittees:

Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Energy and Mineral Resources
The Subcommittee is responsible for issues of mineral resources on public land, geothermal resources, mining interests and most of the U.S. Geological survey.
Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs Subcommittee National Parks, Forests, And Public Lands
The Subcommittee is responsible for all matters related to the National Park System, U.S. Forests, public lands, and national Monuments.
Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Indigenous Peoples of the United States
The Subcommittee is responsible for all matters regarding Native Americans, including the 565 federally recognized tribes and Alaska Native Corporations, and nearly 1.9 million American Indians.
National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Oversight and Investigations
The Subcommittee is responsible for oversight of federal agencies, programs, and policies within the Committee's jurisdiction, including Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Commerce.
Water and Power Subcommittee Water, Oceans, and Wildlife
The Subcommittee is responsible for matters concerning America’s water resources, federal irrigation projects, generation of electric power from federal water projects, interstate water issues and fisheries management.



History

The House Committee on Natural Resources can trace its jurisdictional history to the Committee on Public Lands, which was created on December 17, 1805, on a motion by Representative William Findley, a Democratic-Republican from Pennsylvania. Its jurisdiction would not change until the 1940’s.

 

In the 80th Congress, after the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, various committee jurisdictions were combined into the House Committee on Public Lands. In particular, five former standing Committees from the 19th and early 20th Century were combined into the House Committee on Public Lands. These five committees, along with years they were created, were; Territories (1825), Mines and Mining (1865), Indian Affairs (1821), Irrigation and Reclamation (1893) and Insular Affairs (1899). After the 82nd Congress, on February 2, 1951, the House Committee on Public Lands was renamed the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, which later became the House Committee on Natural Resources in 1993. Finally, in the 104th Congress (1995), the jurisdiction of the House Merchant Marines and Fisheries Committee (1887) was transferred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

 

The Committee has always been tasked with overseeing the nation’s public lands. Conflicts between preserving the land as wilderness and use it for logging, grazing and mining often fall to this committee and then Congress to resolve. The panel also oversees water projects, many environmental issues and even management of wildlife refuges. The committee is crucial to Representatives with many of the nation’s public lands in its districts, especially those from the West.


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