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Best of the West: Lake Mead at record low, California drops water rules, Alberta wildfire still spreading, self-driving big-rigs

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boatdocksLake Mead boat docks I Las Vegas Review-JournalLake Mead has hit a new record low and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation forecasters expect its surface to drop another two feet through the end of June. This news has Arizona, California and Nevada officials considering the possibility of transferring Colorado River water to the reservoir. 

In other drought news, California has lifted its unprecedented mandatory water restrictions and will now allow individual water districts to set their own conservation targets. This move marks a major shift in the state's water policy.

Here are more western stories for the week starting May 16, 2016, that you don't want to miss: (More)

Western Governors celebrating National Parks' Centennial, exploring biosecurity challenges and economic development at Annual Meeting in Jackson Hole

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Grand TetonA celebration of the National Park Service Centennial, as well as insightful conversations on biosecurity challenges and innovative economic development, will highlight the Western Governors' Association 2016 Annual Meeting hosted by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead June 12-14 in spectacular Jackson Hole, Wyo.

The robust agenda developed for the three-day meeting at the Snow King Resort also features a roundtable on Western innovations and a special report on the Western Governors' Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative, the Chairman's Initiative of Gov. Mead.

Ten Western Governors already have indicated they will attend. In addition to Gov. Mead, WGA's Chairman, others include: (More)

Western Governors again seek partnership with BLM, Forest Service in Section 368 energy corridor designation process

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transmissionsunsetWestern Governors have reiterated their desire to work with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) on the energy corridor designation process for Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

The Governors' latest outreach, sent on May 17, 2016, to BLM Director Neil Kornze and USFS Chief Thomas Tidwell, inquired about the status of the Section 368 energy corridors and requested a "substantive partnership" in the designation process and incorporation of energy corridors into land use plans. (More)

Species Spotlight: Collaborative conservation puts Columbian white-tailed deer on road to recovery

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bigcwtdThe Columbian white-tailed deer began to decline in the Pacific Northwestern United States in the early 1900s due to unrestricted hunting and land conversion. Once numbering in the tens of thousands, less than 1,000 of the deer existed by 1975 when they were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

This installment of Species Spotlight examines the conservation actions of state, local and private partners to help recover the Douglas County and the Columbia River distinct population segments (DPS) of the Columbian white-tailed deer to the point of delisting and proposed delisting under the ESA.

CONSERVATION ACTIONS

Columbian white-tailed deer are threatened by both habitat modification and over-predation. After the species was listed under the ESA in 1975, wildlife managers and local partners began to reduce predation by (More)

Governors encourage development of western drought relief legislation

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senateenrlogoWestern Governors have reiterated the need for a "comprehensive, west-wide response to drought and water security" to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

The letter to Senators Lisa Murkowski and Maria Cantwell emphasized, "Nineteen western states are experiencing water shortages because of extended drought. The challenge is clearly diverse in implication and region-wide in scope."

The Governors asked that the letter be included in the record for the May 17 Water and Power Subcommittee Hearing on Pending Legislation, which will include testimony on the "California Long-Term Provisions for Water Supply and Short-Term Provisions for Emergency Drought Relief Act" (S. 2533). Watch a recording of the hearing here.

The outreach to the committee also included a previous letter with recommended solutions and shared the WGA policy resolution, Water Resource Management in the West.

Read, download the letter.

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

WATCH VIDEO: State wildlife agencies' immense impact on species conservation

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State wildlife agencies have an unparalleled positive impact on wildlife conservation, starting with an annual aggregate budget of $5.6 billion. State wildlife agencies employ nearly 50,000 employees and enlist 190,000 volunteers each year to manage 990,000 square miles of wildlife habitat. These numbers underline the tremendous impact of state-led conservation by agencies that improve habitat, manage wildlife and restore endangered species for future generations to enjoy. (More)

Best of the West: Alberta wildfire "out of control," EPA issues methane limits, Fish and Wildlife Service drops Lesser Prairie Chicken appeal

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The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are western stories for the week starting May 9, 2016, that you don't want to miss:

d6ff1871 76eb 40d3 9ec1 2b0e41f4717cAlberta Ablaze: The Fort McMurray wildfire has been classified as "out of control" by the Alberta government, whose latest update cites the burn at more than 884 square miles. Find out why it will take months to extinguish and how it has managed to send Canadian natural gas prices to a record low.

Methane Regulations: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just issued new Clean Air Act regulations that directly limit emissions of methane. Although Western Governors are reviewing the new rule, they previously weighed in on this critical issue via the policy resolution, Methane Emissions Regulation, which emphasizes (More)

Executive Director's Notebook: Energy, governor engagement high heading into Annual Meeting

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By Jim Ogsbury

Governor Mead and Hickenlooper Denver WorkshopWyoming Governor Matt Mead and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper at the Denver workshop of the Chairman's InitiativeThe past several months have been frenetic but productive for the Western Governors’ Association. Consider the following:

The Western Governors' Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative of WGA Chairman and Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead is in full throttle. Initiative-sponsored discussions are engaging a broad range of stakeholders, from conservationists and environmentalists to industry and agriculture representatives, from state and federal officials to lawyers and biologists. Because these conversations are led by Western Governors, they are remarkably civil and constructive. The Chairman's Initiative has conducted four workshops across the West (Cody, Wyo.; Boise, Idaho; Denver, Colo., and Honolulu, Hawaii) and a series of webinars. It is designed to inform future gubernatorial policy on species conservation and the ESA.

The policy arm of WGA has been working in overdrive to communicate (More)

Drought Update: California Gov. Brown cements some water conservation rules, eases others

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California Gov Jerry BrownGov. BrownGov. Jerry Brown has issued an executive order making certain water conservation restrictions permanent in California, including monthly water use reporting, new community water use standards, and bans on "clearly wasteful practices."

The order, which the Los Angeles Times reported "enshrines a conservation ethic in state regulations," also gave communities more flexibility and autonomy by dropping the strict schedule of state-imposed water cuts and allowing water agencies to set their own short-term conservation targets as California enters the fifth year of its historic drought.

"Californians stepped up during this drought and saved more water than ever before," said Gov. Brown in a statement. "But now we know that drought is becoming a regular occurrence, and water conservation must be a part of our everyday life." (More)

Best of the West: Alberta fire rages, excellent Colorado snowpack, Oregon standoff defendants seek venue change

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The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are western stories for the week starting May 2, 2016, that you don't want to miss:

Alberta Wildfire Smoke PlumePhoto: Canadian Red CrossAlberta Blaze Raging: The Fort McMurray wildfire, whipped by winds in excess of 40 mph, have burned more than 328 square miles and continued to rage on Thursday. (Latest updates from CBCNews) And here's how the fire started.

Snowpack's Strong: Good news for western water users can be found in Colorado’s snowpack, which is 113% of median as of Tuesday. More

New Venue? Lawyers for the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon are suggesting a change of venue. More

Zika's Western Impact: New maps from the Centers for Disease Control show the potential range of mosquitoes likely to spread Zika virus. More

Big Gulp: The nation's largest firefighting plane can carry up to 19,600 gallons of water (or fire retardant) for 4,000 miles. More

See last week's Best of the West.

Register now for our Annual Meeting, June 12-14 in Jackson, Wyoming.

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

Lawyers for the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon are suggesting a change of venue. More

Species Spotlight: Work since El Segundo Blue Butterfly listing has led to population revival

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Species Spotlight ButterflyThe El Segundo Blue Butterfly relies on seacliff buckwheat for survivalThe El Segundo Blue Butterfly is endemic to the coastal dunes of Los Angeles County in California. The sandy dunes and surrounding ecosystem are essential to the butterfly’s survival.

Extensive development in this habitat put the El Segundo Blue Butterfly population in danger of extinction. In 1976, the butterfly was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, prompting the preservation of the last remaining dunes of its habitat.

Since then, through protection and restoration of the butterfly’s habitat, the population is growing. The tiny butterflies have even traveled to newly restored dunes, a feat that scientists never expected that will make the population more resilient as it continues to rebound.

Species Spotlight, a case study series examining the challenges and opportunities in species conservation, is part of the Western Governors' Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative, the Chairman's Initiative of Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead.

CONSERVATION ACTIONS

The major threat to El Segundo Blue Butterfly survival is (More)

Judging begins for Western Governors' 'Celebrate the West' high school art competition

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Art Contest Entries 2016More than 200 entries from 19 states arrived by the entry deadline for the Western Governors’ Association Celebrate the West regional art competition.

WGA's inaugural visual arts challenge, sponsored by the Western Governors’ Foundation, challenges high school students to create works inspired by their state. The entries we've received from the 19 states that make up the WGA footprint have lived up to that challenge, with works that reference the history, landmarks, people, communities and culture of the West.

While a majority of the entries were submitted digitally -- as our rules requested -- some Celebrate the West Art Competition Logoentrants couldn't resist sending their finished work. That includes a school in Truth or Consequences, N.M., some of whose wonderful, colorful works are shown with this blog post.

So now it's on to the judging phase. Winning artists (we'll contact you) receive cash prizes and their works will be displayed at our upcoming 2016 Annual Meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo. We'll also display the winning art -- and ultimately all the art -- on our website.

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

Best of the West: Arizona, California, Nevada talk Lake Mead cuts; Bundy defense strategy revealed; wind energy dies down

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The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are western stories for the week starting April 25, 2016, that you don't want to miss:

lakemeadcollabSource: Arizona RepublicWater Cut Collaboration: Arizona, Nevada and California officials are discussing cuts to current use of Lake Mead to avoid draining it to the point where federal officials would take over water allocation.

Mahalo, But Enough! Thousands of job applications have flooded into Hawaii following news of their teacher shortage and bonus for mainland incomers. See a few off-the-wall responses they've received so far.

Bundy Defense Plan: Ammon Bundy and other Oregon standoff defendants have revealed elements of their defense strategy as a date is set for their Nevada trial.

Shifting Wind: Find out the real reason that 2015 saw the weakest U.S. wind production increases since 1999.

Your Town: You could buy a whole town in Nevada for a mere $8 million.

See last week's Best of the West.

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

West leads nation in job growth; Amazon adding more than 1,000 jobs in Kansas, Colorado

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jobgrowthmapWestern states were home to the highest job growth rates over the past year, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The steepest rise was in Idaho, where employment grew 3.6% since March 2015. Oregon, Utah and Washington claimed the next highest spots in the job growth rankings, and California showed the largest statistically significant job increase with 420,800 new jobs. See how much your state's economy grew.

States across the West are making economic progress on a variety of fronts. Here are some highlights: (More)

Western Governors urge BLM to defer to states on methane emissions reduction

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US DOI BLM logoWestern Governors have urged the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to further acknowledge existing state regulatory frameworks for methane emissions reduction.

The letter to BLM Director Neil Kornze regarding the agency's proposed rule (Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation) states: "More work is needed in consultation with Governors and state regulators to ensure the Proposal defers to existing state regulatory frameworks, and does not encroach on air regulatory authority reserved to the states."

The issue highlights Western Governors' ongoing concern about (More)

Best of the West: Bundy brothers denied release, floods imperil Texas dams, eclipse tourism in Wyoming, drastic drought relief

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The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are western stories for the week starting April 18, 2016, that you don't want to miss:

Texas Gov Gregory Wayne AbbottTexas Gov. AbbottTexas under water: Attention has turned to 'extremely high risk' dams in Houston after deadly flooding that prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to declare a state of emergency in nine counties.

Oregon standoff: A judge has ruled that the Bundy brothers will not be allowed release ahead of their Nevada trial -- find out why.

Drastic drought relief: The latest weekly Drought Monitor report shows huge improvements in California and Nevada's most dry areas. Nevada's exceptional drought was completely eradicated for the first time since July 2013, and the percent of California (More)

Executive Director's Notebook: Hawaii Gov. David Ige embodies the meaning of 'aloha'

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Governor Ige Hawaii Initiative WorkshopGov. David IgeBy Jim Ogsbury

Aloha.

For the longest time, I thought “aloha” simply meant hello and goodbye in the Hawaiian language. But it also means affection, peace, compassion, mercy – and much more. The “aloha spirit” describes a way of life.

Personifying the aloha spirit is Hawaii Governor David Ige, who has, in his relatively short time in office, become an active and valued member of WGA’s Board of Directors. Soon after the Governor was elected in 2014, he took action to re-engage Hawaii in the activities and affairs of WGA. Rather than remitting dues for the year, he paid for two years. Instead of simply participating in WGA’s policy-making activities, he assumed a leadership role and successfully promoted a WGA resolution on preclearance of foreign visitors. And, while he could have watched the proceedings of the Western Governors’ Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative from afar, he brought the initiative to Honolulu, where he recently hosted a workshop focusing on (More)

WATCH: Powerful endangered species speech in Hawaii offers insights for all the West

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We've just concluded the Western Governors' Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative workshop series, which included engaging discussions and insightful speeches by Western Governors and species conservation leaders.

Sam ‘Ohu Gon III delivered a stirring, insightful presentation at the final workshop in Hawaii that we thought was particularly worth highlighting. The speech (More)

Western Governors' News: Google driverless car testing in Arizona, Kansas overhauls juvenile justice, Oregon hits employment record

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The Western Governors' Association offers a monthly roundup of news showcasing the work of Western Governors in economic development, natural resources, education, health and safety, and other areas. Here is what the Western Governors have been working on lately:

gov. brown paidGov. BrownALASKA Gov. Bill Walker established the Alaska Mariculture Task Force to develop a comprehensive plan for shellfish and sea plants farming.

ARIZONA Gov. Doug Ducey announced the launch of Google driverless car testing in Arizona, the fourth western state to host the test process.

CALIFORNIA Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation to expand the state's paid family leave program.

COLORADO Gov. John Hickenlooper launched a program to provide specialized resources that can help rural economies become more robust.

HAWAII Gov. David Ige honored 'environmental heroes' for their conservation efforts to combat invasive species.

IDAHO Gov. Butch Otter signed (More)

Gov. Ige emphasizes critical balance of species, people at Hawaii ESA workshop

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Governor Ige at ESA WorkshopHawaii Gov. David Ige opened the workshopHawaii Gov. David Ige kicked off the final workshop of the Western Governors' Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative on Oahu by emphasizing the importance of preserving his state's staggering array of species while also supporting the people who live on the islands.

"It will take a great effort," Gov. Ige said at the the two-day (April 7-8) workshop in Honolulu, "to balance the needs of the species here with the needs of Hawaii's human inhabitants."

The Honolulu workshop (More)

Best of the West: Bears on the loose, world record bridge opens, Oklahoma wildfires, Oregon refuge arrest

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The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are western stories for the week starting April 4, 2016, that you don't want to miss: 

520 Bridge OpeningCrowds thronged the opening of the 520 Bridge in Washington stateOut of their dens: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks report that all but one of the radio-collared grizzly bears they track had emerged from their dens. Find out if that's early.

A bridge most far: The new State Route 520 bridge across Lake Washington is the world's longest floating bridge (says Guinness World Records, no less). See what it delivers.

Still burning: Wildfires continue to plague Oklahoma. Gov. Mary Fallin on Wednesday declared a state of emergency for 10 additional counties due to ongoing blazes. Learn where.

It's official: Almost 6 months after the Aug. 5 Gold King Mine spill, the Environmental Protection Agency has formally proposed a Superfund listing in Bonita Peak Mining District in San Juan County. Learn more.

Latest refuge arrest: A Montana man wanted in the Oregon refuge standoff was arrested in Washington state. See where he was found and what charges he faces.

See last week's Best of the West.

Dayton Duncan, who co-produced "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" with Ken Burns, will speak at WGA's Annual Meeting this june in Jackson Hole. Find out how to attend.

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

WGA urges DOE to engage states in electric transmission process

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DOE logoThe Western Governors' Association has sent comments to the U.S. Department of Energy that express concerns regarding its proposed rule, "Coordination of Federal Authorizations for Electric Transmission Facilities."

The outreach highlights WGA's position regarding the nature and scope of consultation of federal agencies with states and requests a detailed state consultation timeline and plan for obtaining individual state comments. 

The comments assert (More)

Best of the West: Oklahoma wildfire emergency, Colorado supersonic plane, Utah tourism campaign

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The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are western stories for the week starting March 28, 2016, that you don't want to miss: 

Oklahoma Gov Mary FallinGov. FallinWildfires ablaze: Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for the county where a massive wildfire started and burned 400,000 acres. The same fire spread to Kansas, where it has become the largest wildfire in state history and caused Gov. Sam Brownback to declare an emergency last week. See the devastating ripple effect the fire will have on the community.

Prioritizing mine clean-up: Colorado has begun work with federal agencies to complete an inventory of abandoned mines threatening waterways.

Selfie danger: A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows selfies are mostly to blame for (More)

Executive Director's Notebook: The joy of traveling in the great American West

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Gov Daugaard at CS Press Conference for BlogGov. Daugaard took part in a press conference at our Annual Meeting in ColoradoBy Jim Ogsbury

The Capitol Beltway in Washington, D.C., has been described as “54 miles of asphalt, surrounded by reality.” Having spent the majority of my career in the national capital area, I can attest to the region’s air of self-importance and its overall distance from the real world.

One of the best aspects of my job with the Western Governors’ Association is the opportunity it provides to travel to the real world of the great American West. A recent trip was a case in point, as I led a small posse of WGA staff to Pierre, South Dakota, to meet with Governor Dennis Daugaard and to promote the Association’s policy priorities and ethos of bipartisanship with local media.

Pierre is the second smallest capital city in the United States and certainly among the friendliest. The state capitol building, erected from a design similar to that of the Montana capitol, is uncommonly beautiful. Situated on river bluffs overlooking the Missouri River, along the Lewis and Clark trail, Pierre is a Great Plains destination that is high on recreation and low on urban stress. (More)

Find agenda, livestream details for Hawaii workshop of WGA Species Conservation and ESA Initiative hosted by Gov. Ige

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ESA Website Main Page

Hawaii Gov. David Ige addressed "Island Energy Development and the ESA: Unique Solutions for Rare Species" to kick off the final workshop of the Western Governors' Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative April 7-8 in Oahu, Hawaii.

Other topics discussed included protecting marine areas; state and local consultation and coordination; climate change and the ESA; (More)

Western Governors concerned about duplicative EPA mining regulations that could hamper effective state programs

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EPA LogoWestern Governors are concerned about the potential introduction by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of financial assurance requirements on the hard rock mining industry.

Specifically, the Governors' letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy asserts the requirements would create "duplicative federal regulations" that inappropriately hamper effective state programs and fail to recognize states’ primacy role in water management.

"Many western states rely on the hard rock mining industry for economic development and employment," write the Governors. "Western states are committed to (More)

Species Spotlight: Delisting the American Peregrine Falcon through captive breeding and collaborative conservation

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bigfalconThe American Peregrine Falcon was once abundant throughout the United States, but widespread use of the pesticide DDT caused the bird’s population to decline rapidly. This led to a 1970 listing of “endangered” under the Endangered Species Conservation Act.

This installment of Species Spotlight examines the collaborative conservation actions and regulatory changes that led to the banning of DDT and the captive breeding of thousands of falcons. These efforts helped grow the Peregrine Falcon population to the point that the species was delisted in 1999.

CONSERVATION ACTIONS

The pesticide DDT thins the shells of Peregrine eggs, disrupting breeding cycles and decreasing bird populations. In 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency banned the pesticide DDT for most uses in the U.S. This action was a critical first step (More)

Best of the West: Kansas wildfire emergency, Denver blizzard, California reservoir release

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The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are western stories for the week starting March 21, 2016, that you don't want to miss: 

Kansas Grass Fire WoodKansas wildfireWildfire mayhem: Gov. Sam Brownback has declared a state of emergency as crews battle wildfires that have burned more than 400 square miles in Kansas and 220 in Oklahoma. Update 3/28: The continuing wildfire has blazed through more than 400,000 acres in Kansas and Oklahoma, costing more than $1 million so far.

Colorado snow dump: The Denver metro area (and points north and south) was just blasted with a blizzard that closed Denver International Airport and cut off power for more than 300,000 residents. Was it the city's biggest ever? Read this list of historic snowstorms to find out.

Oregon standoff aftermath: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe says the occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge will cost his agency roughly (More)

WGA submits testimony to Appropriations on Western policy issues such as ESA, 'fire-borrowing,' PILT funding

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James D. Ogsbury, Executive Director of the Western Governors’ Association, recently submitted written testimony on Western policy issues to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies.

ID 10 08 07 0320Testimony included "fire borrowing"

The testimony, submitted on behalf of the WGA, focused on issues impacted by the appropriations and activities of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some of the topics included:

  • States as full and equal partners in the implementation of the Endangered Species Act;
  • Continued use of state fish and wildlife data is an integral element of natural resource decisions;
  • Enactment and full funding of a permanent and stable mechanism for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, as these appropriations represent (More)

Western Governors concerned about shortened public process in Forest Service directives, seek role for states as partners

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forestservice

Western Governors have expressed concern to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) about a potential "abbreviated or streamlined process" for involving the public in the formulation of service directives.

Additionally, the Governors noted that any participation process suggested by USFS should "respect states as sovereignties and full partners, not simply as stakeholders or members of the public" as the service's process currently does.

The outreach, in response to the "Request for Information Regarding Involving the Public in the Formulation of Forest Service Directives," also asserted that "any process that reduces the Forest Service’s responsibility to actively inform the public of its actions represents a retreat from openness and transparency."

Read and download the letter

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

Best of the West: Women's History Month, drought-friendly beer, driverless tractors

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The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are western stories for the week starting March 14, 2016, that you don't want to miss: 

Transportation innovation: Four of the seven finalists for the U.S. Department of Transportation's Smart City Challenge are located in the West. The winner will be awarded $40 million to help it become the country's first city to fully integrate innovative technologies into its transportation network.

Recycled brews: A California brewery is making drought-friendly craft beer from recycled waste water.

duceyvidGov. Ducey honors Women's History MonthWomen's History Month: Gov. Doug Ducey released a video celebrating some of the many women who have helped shape Arizona's history.

Automated agriculture: An Idaho company is planning to launch driverless tractors within the next two months.

Insect discovery: Scientists have discovered a new butterfly in Alaska for the first time in 28 years, and it may also be the state's only endemic butterfly.

Energy plan: Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead has announced an updated statewide energy strategy.

See last week's Best of the West.

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