Best of the West: Solving wildfire spending, EV boost, battling invasive mussels

The West

The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting October 2, 2017, that you don't want to miss.

Funding for wildfire prevention and suppression was included in a $29 billion disaster aid request to Congress this week.  The proposed funds would also be allocated towards hurricane and flood costs, with $577 million earmarked for federal firefighting efforts.  

University of Idaho researchers found that western states are spending more time and money fighting existing fires and less on forest management programs that help lessen the impact of future wildfires. Western Governors have urged Congress to fix the issue of “fire borrowing”, a budget practice that diverts funds from fire suppression activities.  

To read the study on state wildfire costs in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington, visit the University of Idaho College of Natural Resources page and click on State Funding for Wildfire Suppression in the Western U.S.       

Charging Up: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, and Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead signed an MOU this week to create a cohesive regional electric vehicle plan designed to increase the number of charging stations across the region and coordinate infrastructure projects.

Stopping the Spread: After detecting juvenile invasive mussels in Montana last summer, the state has ramped up its efforts to prevent the species from wreaking havoc on hydropower facilities. New fees on fishing licenses and hydroelectric facilities are expected to generate $14 million over two years, which will cover inspection and decontamination stations across the state.    

Butterflies Sweep the West: Unusually large swaths of painted lady butterflies have been migrating across western states for weeks, with one flock so large that it impacted weather radar in Colorado.

Hot ‘Hoods: Lonely Planet released a list of the 10 hottest neighborhoods to visit in the U.S, and it’s no surprise that five are in western states. Find out which nooks of California, Washington, Texas, Oregon and Colorado are not to be missed.    

Get the latest news about the West and its governors by following the Western Governors' Association on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


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