From the Western Governors Association:
Western Governors formally approved five policy resolutions on: Workforce Development; Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Act; National Forest and Rangeland Management; Western Agriculture; and State Wildlife Science, Data and Analysis at the Western Governors’ Association 2017 Annual Meeting in Whitefish, Montana.
The five new policy resolutions formally approved include:
Workforce Development: To meet current and future workforce development challenges, Western Governors are committed to identifying innovative approaches that connect western citizens in need of career advancement opportunities to western business sectors with employment vacancies to be filled. The Western Governors’ Association is ideally situated to collect and disseminate workforce development information (such as best practices, case studies and policy options) to enhance workforce development in the West. This resolution directs WGA to pursue a workforce development initiative that leverages the region’s best thinking to help bridge the gap between prospective workers and western employers, now and in the future Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Act: Western Governors applaud the principles and intent of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Governors believe that targeted, legislative, regulatory, and funding refinements could improve the operation of the ESA. The Governors also recognize that much can be accomplished by working collaboratively with federal partners and that the ESA can only be reauthorized through legislation developed in a fashion that results in broad bipartisan support and maintains the intent of the ESA to protect and recover imperiled species. This is an amendment to WGA Policy Resolution 2016-08, incorporating year-two Species Conservation and ESA Initiative principles by reference.
- National Forest and Rangeland Management: Western Governors support sound forest and rangeland management policies that maintain and promote environmental, economic and social balance and sustainability. The Governors support programs intended to reduce wildfire risk and improve forest health and resilience, and believe the federal landscape should be focused on environmentally-sound forest and rangeland management practices that also provide sustainable economic opportunities for local communities. Western Governors encourage collaboration as a tool to achieve community-supported and durable land management outcomes.
- Western Agriculture: Western Governors support a broad array of funding, education, research, and conservation programs that enable farms, forests, and rangelands to be important contributors to the economies and quality of life in western states. The Governors encourage responsible management of federal lands in the West, given that western states include more than 75 percent of our national forest and rangeland ecosystems. Western Governors encourage integrating these policies into legislative action as Congress considers the 2018 Farm Bill.
- State Wildlife Science, Data and Analysis: Western Governors direct U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to utilize state wildlife data, analysis and expertise as principal sources in development and analysis of science serving as the legal basis for federal regulatory action to manage species and habitat. The Governors support efforts to provide statutory exceptions to Freedom of Information Act disclosure for state wildlife data and analysis in instances where publication of state data provided to federal agencies would be in violation of existing state statutes.