Western Governors Approve Five New Policy Resolutions
Left ot right: Governors Doug Burgum (North Dakota), Matt Mead (Wyoming), Butch Otter (Idaho), David Ige (Hawaii), WGA Chair Steve Bullock (Montana), Ralph Torres (Northern Mariana Islands), WGA Vice Chair Dennis Daugaard (South Dakota), John Hickenlooper (Colorado), and Brian Sandoval (Nevada).
Western Governors are gathering this week for their annual meeting in Whitefish, Montana. In addition to the Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative released yesterday, Western Governors formally approved five policy resolutions on: Workforce Development; Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Act; National Forest and Rangeland Management; Western Agriculture; and State Wildlife Science, Data and Analysis at the Western Governors’ Association 2017 Annual Meeting in Whitefish, Montana.
The five new policy resolutions formally approved include in summary:
Workforce Development: Western Governors are committed to identifying innovative approaches that connect western citizens in need of career advancement opportunities to western business sectors with employment vacancies. This resolution directs WGA to pursue a workforce development initiative that leverages the region's best thinking to help bridge the gap between prospective workers and western employers.
Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Act (ESA): The Governors believe that targeted, legislative, regulatory and funding refinements could improve operation of the ESA. The Governors also recognize that much can be accomplished by working collaboratively with federal partners and that ESA can only be reauthorized through legislation developed in a fashion that results in broad bipartisan support and maintains the intent of the ESA to protect and recover imperiled species. This is an amendment to the 2016 resolution, incorporating year-two Species Conservation and ESA initiative principles by reference.
National Forest and Rangeland Management: The Governors support sound forest and rangeland management policies that maintain and promote environmental, economic and social balance and sustainability. They support programs intended to reduce wildfire risk and improve forest health and resilience, and believe the federal landscape should be focused on environmentally sound practices that also provide sustainable economic opportunities for local communities. The Governors encourage collaboration as a tool to achieve community-supported and durable land management outcomes.
Western Agriculture: Western Governors support a broad array of funding, education, research, and conservation programs that enable farms, forests, and rangelands to be important contributors to the economies and quality in western states. They encourage responsible management of federal lands in the West. They also encourage integrating these policies into legislative action as Congress considers the 2018 Farm Bill.
State Wildland Science, Data and Analysis: Western Governors direct the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to utilize state wildlife data, analysis and expertise as principal sources in development and analysis of science serving as the legal basis for federal regulatory action to manage species and habitat.