Western Governors adopt five policy resolutions

To kick off WGA’s 2024 Annual Meeting in Olympic Valley, California, Western Governors formally adopted five policy resolutions.

The resolutions represent the Governors’ collective policy on disaster preparedness and response, transportation infrastructure, water resource management, cleaning up abandoned hardrock mines, and water quality. Additional details can be found below.   

“It's so great that Governors in the West can get together and talk about these issues in a bipartisan fashion,” WGA’s Chair, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon, said. “Regardless of our political differences, we have been able to work together over the years on an incredible number of issues.”

WGA Policy Resolution 2024-05, Disaster Preparedness and Response

The resolution recognizes the role Governors have in coordinating the four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.  It also highlights federal agencies’ roles and emphasizes the need for cooperation and clear communication between all levels of government and members of the public.  In any disaster or emergency situation, good communication is key to developing and executing an effective response, promoting public confidence in that response, and empowering citizens to make informed decisions about their safety and welfare.

WGA Policy Resolution 2024-06, Transportation Infrastructure in the Western United States

The resolution addresses surface transportation needs in the West.  Western Governors emphasize their support for a long-term federal funding mechanism for the maintenance and expansion of both surface transportation networks and ports.  The resolution highlights the need for flexible and accessible funding that allows states to optimize infrastructure investment alongside efficient processes and waivers to ensure timely deployment of funding.  It also outlines the unique air service needs of rural communities, and the need for state-federal collaboration when planning and siting electric vehicle infrastructure.

WGA Policy Resolution 2024-07, Water Resource Management in the West

The reslution addresses the management of water resources in the West, highlighting states’ sovereign authority over the allocation of water within their boundaries.  The resolution also emphasizes the importance of federal infrastructure investment in delivering clean and reliable water to communities throughout the West.  Governors support federal programs and the role they play in managing water resources including programs under the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  The resolution also addresses emerging cybersecurity threats.

WGA Policy Resolution 2024-08, Cleaning Up Abandoned Hardrock Mines in the West

“Good Samaritans” are entities that voluntarily clean up abandoned mine sites.  These Good Samaritans face potential liability under the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), despite not having owned or operated the mine.  In the resolution, Western Governors call on Congress to enact legislation to protect Good Samaritans from potential liabilities under CWA, CERCLA, and RCRA.  Western Governors support pilot projects, including projects under state-led programs, to address site-specific liabilities if comprehensive legislation addressing these issues is not possible in the short term.  The resolution also emphasizes that states are best suited to determine Good Samaritan eligibility and manage reclamation plans and calls for full appropriations for the Abandoned Hardrock Mine Reclamation Program to address the backlog of abandoned hardrock mine inventory.

WGA Policy Resolution 2024-09, Water Quality in the West

Clean water is essential to strong economies, healthy ecosystems, and quality of life in the West.  In this resolution, Governors emphasize states’ role as co-regulators in the implementation of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.  It also conveys Western Governors’ shared perspective on the role of federal assistance in meeting federal water quality standards, including technical assistance and funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds.

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