- Policy Platforms
Decarbonizing the West is the 2024 WGA Chair initiative of Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon. The initiative will examine how decarbonization strategies and technologies, including carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies, direct air capture (DAC), and natural sequestration can position western states at the forefront of innovation and reduce the effects of carbon emissions on the environment. Through a series of workshops and webinars, WGA will convene federal, state, local, tribal, and industry stakeholders to explore issues and themes relevant to the development and deployment of carbon dioxide removal technologies, including statutory and regulatory barriers, technical advancements and challenges, and emerging applications for carbon. An initiative report will be released at the conclusion of the initiative in summer 2024.
Governor Jared Polis of Colorado launched The Heat Beneath Our Feet (HBOF) as his 2023 WGA Chair Initiative. The initiative will examine opportunities for and barriers to the increased deployment of geothermal energy technologies for both electricity generation and heating and cooling systems in western states, which contain the vast majority of high-yield geothermal energy capacity in the U.S.
The Chair's Initiative of Western Governors’ Association Chair and Idaho Governor Brad Little will examine the interdependent relationships between western communities, state and federal land resource management entities, as well as the role that local communities play in successful land planning and management processes.
The Chair's Initiative of Western Governors’ Association Chair and Oregon Governor Kate Brown seeks to achieve an expanded regional agreement on electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the West that will bolster current economies and create a roadmap, both literally and figuratively, to the future.
The challenges that states face in diversifying local economies, closing the digital divide, training workers for the jobs of the future, expanding healthcare access, and modernizing infrastructure are closely intertwined. It is increasingly clear that the most effective solutions involve a systemic approach, cutting across sectors to find efficiencies and leverage resources. The Western Prosperity Roundtable is focused on addressing these capacity challenges to equip western communities to undertake locally led community and economic development efforts.
Reimagining the Rural West was the Chairman's Initiative of WGA Chair and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. The Initiative examined challenges and opportunities in rural economic development, infrastructure and quality of life. The Special Report of the Initiative offers more than a dozen recommendations to support vibrant rural communities in the West organized around three major pillars: Opportunity, Connectivity and Community.
The Western Governors' ongoing defense and promotion of state authority has established them as national leaders advocating for the realignment of the state-federal relationship. WGA has established the Western Governors’ Center of Excellence for Improving the State-Federal Relationship as an online repository of resources on federalism issues developed through the Governors’ research and policy work.
The Western Governors’ Biosecurity and Invasive Species Initiative, launched in 2018 as the central policy initiative of WGA Chair Hawaii Governor David Ige, focused on the impacts that nuisance species, pests and pathogens have on ecosystems, forests, rangelands, watersheds, and infrastructure in the West. The Initiative also examined the role that biosecurity plays in addressing the risks posed by invasive species.
The Western Governors’ Workforce Development Initiative of South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, launched in 2017, leveraged the region’s best thinking to help bridge the gap between prospective workers and employers in the West. The Initiative also explored how to create enhanced career opportunities for students, graduates and displaced workers to help build a more vibrant regional economy.
The Working Lands Roundtable is a platform for WGA's work on natural resource policy, focusing on cross-boundary and multi-disciplinary resource management issues in the West. The Roundtable draws on the expertise of a wide range of resource management, landowner and conservation professionals to discuss strategies that enhance the resiliency of western working landscapes and the communities they support.
The Chair of the Western Governors’ Association may direct the organization to pursue a particular policy project or initiative. These “Chair Initiatives” typically leverage the deep expertise of the region to develop policy solutions to the most significant challenges facing the West. Past initiatives have included the National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative, Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative, and the Drought Forum.