Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) released the following statements after the introduction of the Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act of 2022, which would give grazing permit holders the flexibility to voluntarily waive their grazing permits on Federal lands for equitable compensation and to promote conservation of public lands.
“As ranchers across the country face increasing costs and land management challenges, this legislation would provide them with the flexibility to do what is best for their land and families. Federal grazing permit holders often face barriers or have limited flexibility to give up their grazing permits, even when it is the best option for their own situation,” said Rep. Adam Smith. “A voluntary federal grazing permit retirement program is a commonsense step to support flexibility for ranchers and promote smart land-use practices. The Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act aligns with the Biden-Harris Administration’s ‘America the Beautiful’ initiative to conserve and restore our lands, waters, and wildlife through incentives and rewards for voluntary conservation efforts by ranchers.”
“Voluntarily retiring grazing permits to advance conservation goals on public lands shouldn’t be difficult or costly. I’m glad to join Congressman Smith in this legislation to advance conservation and promote smart land-use by giving ranchers the flexibility they need to overcome barriers to voluntary permit retirement,” said Rep. Jared Huffman. On top of the benefits to permit holders, this will ease grazing pressure on public lands and help natural ecosystems recover and thrive. It’s a win-win-win for taxpayers, ranchers, and the environment.”
The Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act provides grazing permit holders the option to voluntarily waive their permits to graze on Federal lands in exchange for market value compensation paid by private parties. The federal land management agency would then be directed to retire the associated grazing allotment from further grazing activity.
In some cases, federal grazing permittees may want to give up their grazing permits simply because it’s the best choice for their business model or their life circumstances. However, due to the structure of the grazing program and the investments made in their permits, this may be financially untenable without some form of compensation. The Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act facilitates agreements between third parties and grazing permittees that increase flexibility for the permit holders while ensuring that the conservation gains from removing livestock are permanent.
Livestock grazing on federal public lands can lead to conflicts with other multiple uses including impacts to wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. Current law and regulations either do not allow for the retirement of grazing permits or make the process unnecessarily difficult and uncertain. The voluntary retirement of grazing permits is the most cost-effective and equitable way to address this issue.
The Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act is purely voluntary – giving grazing permit holders on Federal lands the opportunity to relinquish their permits if they choose. Retiring these permits will ease grazing pressure on public lands to the benefit of wildlife, the surrounding ecosystem, and other multiple use activities on public lands.
The Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act is endorsed by several leading environmental, conservation, and wildlife organizations including Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society Legislative Fund, American Bird Conservancy, Wilderness Watch, Humane Society of the United States, Western Watersheds Project, Predator Defense, Horses for Life, and Oregon Natural Desert Association.
The full text of the bill can be found here.
See below for statements of support for the Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act.
Sierra Club
“Grazing of private livestock on public lands sometimes creates conditions and conflicts that can only be resolved by removal of the livestock. Existing policies make livestock removal extremely difficult. The Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act (VGPRA) creates a proven, effective, free market-based mechanism to resolve problems when conservation goals and livestock production dynamics clash on our public lands. It is a win-win solution when willing ranchers and private conservation dollars come together to allow permanent grazing retirement. Salmon, sage grouse, wolves, recreationists, ranchers, taxpayers and many more will benefit from the passage of this simple bill that allows for a permanent, common-sense solution to some of the thorniest challenges of our times. The Sierra Club enthusiastically supports Representative Smith's forward-looking approach to public lands management.”
Sierra Club is a grassroots environmental organization in the United States that amplifies the power of their millions of members and supporters to defend everyone’s right to a healthy world.
Natural Resources Defense Council
“This legislation will increase the flexibility our federal land managers have to efficiently and effectively manage the hundreds of millions of acres under their purview at a time when these lands are increasingly experiencing the harmful effects of climate change. Critically, it will allow land managers, ranchers, public land users, and other stakeholders to pursue smarter land use strategies that can also drive much-needed conservation gains.”
Natural Resources Defense Council works to safeguard the earth—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends, combining the power of more than three million members and online activists with the expertise of some 700 scientists, lawyers, and policy advocates across the globe.
Monica Goldberg, Vice President of Landscape Conservation, Defenders of Wildlife
“Voluntary grazing permit retirement has repeatedly proven to be successful at resolving management on public lands. The Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act is a win-win-win for interested grazing permittees, conservation, and our public lands.”
Defenders of Wildlife is a non-profit conservation organization based in the United States which works to protect all native animals and plants throughout North America in their natural communities.
Western Watersheds Project

“The reintroduction of this legislation is coming at a critical time for Western public lands.  As we continue to experience the worst drought conditions in over 1200 years, tools like voluntary grazing permit retirement are essential for protecting public lands, wildlife and native plants both now and into the future.  We applaud Reps. Smith and Huffman for their efforts to advance this common sense solution to one of the greatest problems facing our public lands today.”
Western Watersheds Project is a non-profit environmental conservation group that works to influence and improve public lands management throughout the western United States in order to protect native species and conserve and restore the habitats they depend on.
Wilderness Watch

"The Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act can go a long way in resolving the inherent conflict between livestock grazing and Wildernesses preservation.  It deserves the support of all public officials and citizens who believe in protecting truly wild, natural ecosystems and the benefits they provide to people and wildlife."
Wilderness Watch is America’s leading organization dedicated to defending and keeping wild the nation’s 111-million-acre National Wilderness Preservation System.
George Wuerthner, Scientific Advisory Board, Predator Defense

“The voluntary grazing permit retirement legislation is an equitable measure that will reduce conflicts between predators and livestock producers on public lands.”
Predator Defense is a national nonprofit advocacy organization working to protect native predators and to end America's war on wildlife.
Oregon Natural Desert Association
"Voluntary grazing permit retirement has proven to be an effective mechanism for resolving management conflicts in Oregon, to the benefit of both grazing permittees and public lands. Oregon Natural Desert Association would welcome establishment of a program to provide this option throughout Oregon's high desert."
Oregon Natural Desert Association is the only conservation organization dedicated exclusively to preserving Oregon's high desert.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after President Biden delivered his State of the Union Address.
“In his State of the Union Address, President Biden highlighted the progress we have made over the past year to combat COVID-19 and recover economically and made a clear case for what more must be done in the year ahead. When President Biden’s term began in 2021, the majority of Americans were not yet vaccinated and federal support for many families and businesses was running out. Thanks to the Biden-Harris administration’s vaccination program, over 200 million Americans have been vaccinated, a number that continues to climb. The American Rescue Plan passed by Congressional Democrats provided a lifeline to individuals, small businesses, and communities – leading to a historic economic recovery in the U.S.
“Building on the success of the past year, President Biden laid out an optimistic vision for the future of our economy based on the facts. In 2021, our gross domestic product grew by 5.7 percent – the fastest growth since 1984 – making the United States the first advanced economy in the world to reach pre-pandemic GDP levels. We created 6.6 million jobs, and the unemployment rate dropped from 6.4 percent to around 4 percent, representing the biggest single year drop in our country’s history. The United States economy has not only recovered but has come back stronger in many ways, including the long overdue rise in wages for many workers.
“The President’s address reflects his commitment to the issues that matter to the American people: access to good jobs with fair wages and better benefits, lower costs for things like child care, and a safe and sustainable future. It is imperative that we follow through on the President’s remarks tonight to advance the pillars of his agenda that prioritize lower costs for American families and address the climate crisis. The provisions from the Build Back Better agenda to combat climate change and promote clean energy will lower energy costs for families, reduce harmful emissions, put us on a path to eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels, and modernize our electric grid to be sustainable in the long-term.
“President Biden was also clear eyed about the challenges we face, namely Vladimir Putin’s war of choice against Ukraine. President Biden has joined other leaders around the world to swiftly condemn Putin’s invasion of this independent country and impose severe sanctions that will weaken and isolate Russia. Despite Putin’s attempts to divide the West, I remain confident in our strong network of partners and allies across the globe, and I look forward to continuing to work together towards a more stable, just, and peaceful world.
“I commend President Biden for his achievements in the past year, for bringing us out of one of the worst economic crises we have seen in our nation’s history and for bringing us into a future of opportunity and possibility. I look forward to my continued work with the Administration in the year ahead to deliver for the people of Washington’s Ninth District and all Americans.”
SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement regarding the months-long unfair labor practice strike taking place across King County by members of the Teamsters Local 174 Union. The ongoing strike against the region’s six major concrete suppliers has resulted in thousands of layoffs.
“For nearly ten weeks now, workers across King County have demanded better wages and benefits from their employers. Amidst thousands of workers being laid off, it has been reported that employers are now refusing to come to the bargaining table. This standstill comes at the expense of working people and hurts families. The actions by employers seem to indicate a greater interest in undermining unions rather than coming to the table to negotiate in good faith.
“For far too long, we have seen large corporations prioritize their own profits and shareholders at the expense of workers. That is why we have seen an increase in strikes across the country by workers demanding fair pay, better benefits, and a safer workplace. I firmly believe in the right to organize and the importance of unions for American workers, their families, and the strength of our economy. I am fighting in Congress to protect collective bargaining rights and strengthen worker protections.
“The failure to a reach a resolution in King County means that many transportation projects across the county – such as the reopening of the West Seattle Bridge and numerous Sound Transit projects – are at a standstill. This ultimately damages our community at a time when the region’s transportation infrastructure network is in desperate need of improvements. I urge the employers to come back to the table in good faith so that the parties can reach an agreement to get workers fair pay and benefits and projects moving forward again.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after President Biden signed an Executive Order that will require federally funded construction projects over $35 million to use project labor agreements (PLAs), which are pre-hiring collective bargaining agreements, with one or more union organizations.
“I have long advocated for greater utilization of project labor agreements in federal contracts, and today President Biden took a significant action with his executive order to support American workers. PLAs have immense benefits for the government, taxpayers, and our workers, as well as a proven record of raising workplace standards. These agreements reduce the level of uncertainty associated with these large-scale projects – like cost increases and schedule delays – while ensuring that our skilled workforce secures good pay, benefits, and job conditions for these important projects. I am glad the Biden-Harris administration took concrete action to ensure broader implementation of PLAs and I will continue to advocate for the expansion of this tool in the federal government.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed his bill, H.R. 1593, the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021, which was included in the America COMPETES Act of 2022, a package of bills passed today in the House of Representatives by a vote of 222 – 210.
“Today, I am incredibly proud to say that my bill, the Adoptee Citizenship Act, was passed by the House of Representatives as part of the America COMPETES Act. This is a major step forward for many international adoptees who currently do not have U.S. citizenship. This bipartisan piece of legislation would finally grant citizenship to international adoptees who were brought to the United States as children but were never granted citizenship. These individuals grew up here and started careers and families, but through no fault of their own they never received citizenship and are living in uncertainty about their future. The Adoptee Citizenship Act will provide much needed certainty to affected adoptees, ensuring that these individuals have full access to their rights as American citizens.
“I appreciate the leadership of my co-leads on this legislation – Representative Curtis (R-Utah) and Senators Blunt (R-Mo.) and Hirono (D-Hawaii). And thank you to the numerous organizations, advocates, and impacted adoptees who continue to work tirelessly to build support for this issue. I look forward to working with my colleagues to keep this provision in the final agreement between the House and Senate.”
Families who adopted children from abroad were previously required to go through a lengthy process to naturalize and gain United States citizenship for their adopted children, in addition to the long, costly, and burdensome adoption process. Sometimes, the necessary paperwork was not entirely completed, and significant numbers of adoptees grew up for years unaware that they were living in the United States as non-citizens.
The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA) eliminated the need for many adoptive families to apply to naturalize their newly adopted children. This law grants automatic citizenship to all foreign-born children brought to the United States under the age of 18 and have at least one parent who is a U.S. Citizen. It applied to all future adoptees as well as those under the age of 18 who were adopted prior to the CCA’s effective date.
Unfortunately, the 2000 CCA law only applied to future adoptees, and adoptees who were under the age of 18 on its effective date; it did not apply retroactively to those adoptees who faced the same dilemma but aged into adulthood before the CCA took effect. For these international adoptees, the U.S. is the place they grew up and the place they call home. Yet, through no fault of their own, they never received their citizenship and are living in uncertainty about their future.
The Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021 introduced by Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and John Curtis (R-Utah) corrects this gap in the law by confirming international adoptees’ U.S. citizenship status, regardless of if they were over the age of 18 when the CCA took effect.
Read the full text of the amendment here.