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Western Governors announce resolutions, roll out RAPID toolkit at Winter Meeting

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Sandoval Moniz MeetingGov. Brian Sandoval, Energy Secretary Moniz and Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Western Governors rolled out the RAPID toolkit, announced new resolutions, offered an update on the Western Governors' Drought Forum and discussed a variety of Western policy issues at the 2014 Winter Meeting Dec. 6-7 in Las Vegas. Read a story about the first day of the meeting by Laura Myers of the Las Vegas Review Journal and watch a report by Jessica Lovell of 13ActionNews.  

RAPID Toolkit

The Western Governors publically rolled out the Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit (RAPID).

The online toolkit integrates information related to potential transmission routes and key permitting and siting requirements of federal and state agencies into one convenient website. Read and download information and watch a video about RAPID.

Resolutions

The Western Governors formally approved two resolutions, including:

  • Wild Horse and Burro Management: Thoughtful, science-based management decisions for wild horse and burro management will attain populations within appropriate management levels.
  • Methane Emissions Regulation: Federal regulation should recognize state efforts already underway and provide states the ability to design methane emissions reduction plans.
  • Public Lands Grazing: Western Governors support science-based management decisions for federal lands based upon flexible policies that consider local ecological conditions and state planning decisions for wildlife and other human needs.
  • Federal Disaster Recovery Assistance for Communities in the West: The federal government has an important role to play in responding to disasters and in helping communities and states in long-term recovery.

Learn more and download each resolution in this blog post

They said it

  • Gov. Brian Sandoval's opening remarks: "The West still represents opportunity, rugged individualism, the vast potentials of enterprise and hard work, in short, the very best of what it is to be an American.  We're only limited by how big we are willing to dream and how hard we are willing to work."
  • Keynote by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz: "We are committed to an all-of-the-above energy strategy. Our job is to make sure the options are there for our communities and states to make the choices they need to make for a clean energy future."
  • Keynote by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell: “We’re in a period of epic collaboration. That’s what is happening for sage-grouse across the 11 states.  We have incredible momentum so we can’t stop now, we need to get across the finish line.”

Plenary Sessions

Seven Western Governors, led by WGA Chairman Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, took part in the day's sessions, including John Hickenlooper (Colorado), Butch Otter (Idaho), Steve Bullock (Montana), Susana Martinez (New Mexico), Gary Herbert (Utah) and Matt Mead (Wyoming).

Infrastructure: Moving Freight & Electricity

  • Governor Mead (in question to Secretary Moniz): "Coal accounts for roughly 40% of electricity generation in this country - when looking at driving down emissions, is the solution to use less coal or to invest and work with states to make improvements?"
  • Secretary Moniz: "Our objective is to provide technologies to permit coal use even in a world of lower carbon emissions."

Managing Lands and Species

  • Gov. Mead to Dan Ashe: “Is the Endangered Species Act working the way it should?”
  • Dan Ashe to Matt Mead: “I certainly think there are improvements that we could make to the Endangered Species Act if we could sit down collaboratively…”
  • Gov. Herbert: “We need to make sure that there is every opportunity for our farmers and ranchers, our agribusiness, to survive, and not only survive but thrive.”

Improving Services and Opportunities for Veterans

  • Gov. Sandoval discussed Nevada's "The Green Zone Inititative," which provides services and support to veterans returning home. Learn more.
  • Gov. Herbert: "You can hate war, and you can hate a specific war, but you ought to love the veteran. We need to be looking for every opportunity for us to say thanks."
  • Gov. Otter: These men and women go and do what they have to do for our country. Now it’s our turn to do what we have to do for them."

 Governors' Policy Roundtable

  • Gov. Herbert: "There’s got to be a renewed appreciation in Washington, D.C. for the rule of the states."
  • Gov. Otter: (Western Governors) look to each other: If Governor Herbert's doing something in Utah that’s really making sense, I'm going to use it."
  • Gov. Mead: Trying to do what's best for our citizens: I’m completely open to alternatives, but I'm not open to doing nothing."

Western Governors' Drought Forum

Gov. Sandoval also provided a brief update on the Western Governors' Drought Forum, his Chairman's Initiative, which is designed to foster a dialoge on best practices to manage drought in the West. Watch this video to learn more and visit here to learn more about the Western Governors Drought Forum.

WGA is reporting on the meeting via social media (Twitter and Facebook). If you want to keep up with the meeting (or make your own posts) on Twitter, follow the hashtag #wga14. During the meeting you can also visit our Meetings page for updates on this meeting as well as past gatherings of the Western Governors.

Get the latest news of the West and the Western Governors' Association by following the WGA on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.