Western Governors Association Annual Meeting recap

Photo of the Governors at the Annual Meeting via the Western Governors Association
Photo of the Governors at the Annual Meeting via the Western Governors Association

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2014 Annual Meeting: June 9-11, The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs

Ten Western Governors attended WGA’s 2014 Annual Meeting. WGA Chairman and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Vice Chairman and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval welcomed Arizona’s Jan Brewer, Idaho’s Butch Otter, Kansas’s Sam Brownback, Montana’s Steve Bullock, North Dakota’s Jack Dalrymple, South Dakota’s Dennis Daugaard, Utah’s Gary Herbert and Wyoming’s Matt Mead.

Check out a slideshow of photos featuring Governors, special guests and Annual Meeting events.

Day 1

June 9, 2014: Opening day was historic for Western Governors, as they participated in a live video-teleconference with President Barack Obama to discuss the wildfire season and efforts to improve forest management, including an end to the practice of “fire borrowing.” The conversation represented the first time the Western Governors have had an in-person conversation with any president during a WGA meeting.

The day began with members of the Western States Tourism Policy Council, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and other federal agency heads today signing a memorandum of understanding aimed at promoting federal-state dialogue and cooperation on western states tourism and public lands issues. Governor John Hickenlooper spoke and was joined at the ceremony by governors Matt Mead of Wyoming, Gary Herbert of Utah and Butch Otter of Idaho.

The afternoon session included a keynote by Secretary Jewell, followed by a roundtable on “Preparing for and Responding to Drought and Flooding,” moderated by South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard. Guests on the panel included Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), Department of Defense, and Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary, Department of Agriculture.

The afternoon session concluded the signing of an MOU by WGA Chairman Hickenlooper and Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA Administrator, to continue a collaboration on drought, flooding, and wildfire preparedness. The official business of the day concluded with the governors conducting a press conference attended by the Colorado Springs Gazette, Associated Press, E&E News and Washington Post.

Read more about Day 1 and download the MOU.

Day 2

June 10, 2014: Western Governors met with the chief of the Environmental Protection Agency to discuss the recently proposed regulations on carbon emissions from existing coal plants during the second day of the 2014 WGA Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs.

While several Governors take issue with the rule, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy later characterized the discussions in a press conference as “collegial.”

McCarthy went on to say that the regulations aren’t “the end-all be-all” and that she hopes it changes companies’ strategies on energy development.

Read more about Day 2.

Day 3

June 11, 2014: Western Governors elected Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval Chairman of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber was elected as Vice-Gov SandovalChairman on the final day of the Annual Meeting.

After the announcement, the Nevada governor delivered remarks on his initiative for the coming year: the Western Governors Drought Forum. Gov. Sandoval said, in part, the goal of the forum “is to bring our states together to combat drought, and to recommit WGA to play a leading role in that fight.” Read more about the Drought Forum.

The Western Governors also announced six new policy resolutions on a variety of issues that range from Species of Concern and Candidate Species to Regional Wildfire Fighting Resources.

Read more about Day 3 and find links to the resolution.

Media: Stories about the Governors call with the President and their conversation with EPA’s chief appeared in the Colorado Springs Gazette. The Associated Press covered Governor Sandoval’selection as chairman.

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