WGA’s Jim Ogsbury testifies before House subcommittee on FY 2021 appropriations, activities of BLM, FWS, NPS, USFS, EPA

Western Governors’ Association Executive Director Jim Ogsbury testified Feb. 6, 2020 on FY 2021 appropriations and activities before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies.

The testimony focused on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"The agencies within the Subcommittee’s jurisdiction wield significant influence over vast areas of the American West," said Ogsbury. "The work of this Subcommittee is of vital importance to Western Governors, as it affects public lands management and federal agency interaction with other levels of government and the public."

Highlights of the testimony included:

  • "There is a natural tension between state and federal governments that is embedded in the fabric of the U.S. Constitution ... Improving the partnership between states and the federal government is central to the mission of WGA and is reflected in WGA Policy Resolution 2020-01, Strengthening the State-Federal Relationship.
  • "The 2018 Shared Stewardship Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between WGA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has allowed Western Governors and USDA to collaboratively engage on several cross-boundary, cross-jurisdictional concerns, including post-wildfire interagency coordination, cheatgrass infestations, and vegetation management in utility corridors."
  • "Western Governors believe that states should be full partners in the implementation of the Endangered Species Act ... (and) that such cooperation should involve meaningful opportunities for states to comment, participate, or undertake proactive measures before the federal government takes action under the ESA."
  • "Fish and wildlife migration corridors and habitat are necessary to maintain healthy populations of species in the West.  Western Governors request additional funding for federal agencies to advance state-supported programs and projects promoting voluntary migration corridor and habitat conservation."
  • "WGA applauds the full funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program ... and recommends the enactment of a permanent and stable funding mechanism for the program. Similarly, payments under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act ... (should have) full funding annually."
  • "Western Governors continue to be concerned about the number of wild horses and burros on BLM lands ... WGA supports a process to establish, monitor and adjust Appropriate Management Levels for wild horses and burros that is transparent to stakeholders, supported by scientific information (including state data), and amenable to adaptation with new information and environmental and social change."
  • "WGA remains concerned about the spread of invasive mussels in the West. Of particular worry are invasive quagga and zebra mussels. To combat this threat, Western Governors request that the BLM, FWS and NPS be provided with the resources necessary to implement mandatory inspection of all high-risk watercraft and decontamination of watercraft infested with quagga and zebra mussels leaving waterbodies under their jurisdiction."
  • "States also possess delegated authority from EPA to manage air quality within their borders.  Congress and EPA should recognize state authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and accord states sufficient flexibility to create air quality and emissions programs tailored to individual state needs, industries and economies."

Read, download testimony submitted to House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies testimony (Watch Jim Ogsbury's testimony)

Read, download testimony submitted to Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

The Governors also submitted policy for two other hearings on Feb. 6, 2020:

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