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Western Governors approve resolutions on water, radioactive waste, mine reclamation, Secure Rural Schools

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Governors on Dais

Western Governors have announced eight new policy resolutions on a variety of issues that range from water to radioactive waste, bonding for mine reclamation to Secure Rural Schools.

The new resolutions approved by the Governors were announced by Colorado Gov. John Gov Hickenlooper Winter Meeting PortraitHickenlooper, the WGA Chairman, on Wednesday (Dec. 11) at the Western Governors’ Association Winter Meeting in Las Vegas. Along with previous WGA resolutions, the new resolutions form the basis for the association's efforts in the region and in Washington, D.C.

Below is a look at the newly approved resolutions. The complete language for these resolutions, along with other standing resolutions, can be found here. We encourage you to read them and welcome your feedback.

Water Resource Management in the West: Western Governors re-assert that states are the primary authority for water supply planning and management within their boundaries. Our water management priorities are (1) state primacy, (2) new infrastructure, (3) innovative water management, and (4) reliable water data.

Water Quality in the West: States and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) work together as co-regulators under the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.  In this resolution we lay out our views on priority issues under these federal water quality regulations, including the preservation of state authority in managing water resources. 

Transportation of Radioactive Waste: Western Governors encourage the Department of Energy to continue to comply with both the letter and spirit of the WIPP Land Withdrawal Act and expect DOE to follow the transportation safety standards, principles and procedures agreed to with the states.

Storage and Disposal of Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel: Western Governors assert that development of any proposed storage facility for high level radioactive waste located in a Western state or U.S. flag island must have the written consent of the governor in whose state or territory the facility is to be located.  

Tax-Exempt Federal Lands and Secure Rural Schools: Western Governors assert that the federal government must honor its historic agreements with states and counties in the West to compensate them for tax-exempt federal lands within their borders and these payments should not be subject to federal sequestration. 

States’ Share of Royalties and Leasing Revenues from Federal Lands: The federal government collects royalties and lease payments for energy development on public lands.  By law these revenues are shared with states.  Western Governors believe these shared revenues should not be treated as federal expenditures, subject to sequestration.

The Regulation of Coal Combustion Waste: Western Governors assert that the Western states should continue to be the principal regulatory authorities for coal combustion residual waste and urge EPA not to create unnecessary additional federal regulations.

Bonding for Mine Reclamation: Western Governors believe that states currently have financial responsibility programs in place for mining operations that are working well and they should not be duplicated or pre-empted by any program developed by EPA.

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