Western Governors Association elect Governor Doug Burgum as Chair, approve policy resolutions
The Western Governors elected North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum to serve as WGA Chair and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown as Vice Chair at the 2019 WGA Annual Meeting in Colorado.
Gov. Burgum closed the meeting by announcing his Chairman’s Initiative for the coming year: Reimagining the Rural West. The Initiative will examine challenges and opportunities in rural economic development, infrastructure and quality of life, identify best practices, and recommend policies to support vibrant rural communities in the West.
WGA will conduct a workshop and webinar series that assembles stakeholders, policy experts and thought leaders to discuss emerging issues, share success stories, and develop bipartisan solutions to the most urgent challenges facing the rural West.
The Western Governors additionally approved four policy resolutions on: Federal-State Land Exchanges and Purchases, Biosecurity and Invasive Species Management, National Parks, and Wildlife Migration Corridors.
The policy resolutions formally approved at the 2019 Annual Meeting in Colorado include:
WGA Policy Resolution 2019-05, Federal-State Land Exchanges and Purchases. Federally owned lands are widespread throughout western states and are often interspersed with state, county and private lands. This ownership pattern complicates various land management activities, including wildfire mitigation, habitat conservation, and watershed protection. In this resolution, Western Governors call on Congress to simplify and expedite federal-state land exchange, and sale and conveyance processes to help address checkerboard land ownership challenges in the West. Read, download the resolution.
WGA Policy Resolution 2019-06, Biosecurity and Invasive Species Management. This addresses invasive species management and adds substantial new policy direction emerging from the WGA Biosecurity and Invasive Species Initiative. Among these new policies are a call for the creation of a Western Invasive Species Council; new mechanisms to enhance regional invasive species research, planning and coordination; and recommendations to Congress and federal agencies on improving invasive species management on federal lands and supporting state-led management efforts. Read, download the resolution.
WGA Policy Resolution 2019-07, National Parks and the West. Western Governors recognize the crucial role that the National Park Service plays in the preservation of natural, cultural and historic resources under its management in the West. Governors also understand the economic importance of National Parks to tourism-dependent gateway communities. In this resolution, Governors express their support for measures to address the deferred maintenance backlog and acknowledge the importance of state-federal collaboration to keep National Parks open during federal shutdowns. Read, download the resolution.
WGA Policy Resolution 2019-08, Wildlife Migration Corridors and Habitat. Migration corridors and habitat play a crucial role in maintaining the health and vitality of fish and wildlife species in the West. Western Governors call on federal agencies to support locally-developed initiatives to conserve fish and wildlife migration corridors and habitat; substantively consult with Governors and state agencies on land management for migration corridors or habitat; and consider additional means of funding state-led corridor conservation efforts. Read, download the resolution.
Western Governors enact new policy resolutions and amend existing resolutions on a bi-annual basis. All of WGA’s current resolutions can be found on our Resolutions Page.
The Western Governors’ Association represents the Governors of 19 Western states and 3 U.S.-