Drought, transportation, new energy storage options, and sage-grouse conservation were just some of the topics addressed by 10 Western Governors during the Western Governors' Association 2015 Annual Meeting.
WGA Chairman and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval opened the proceedings by releasing the first-year report on his Chairman's Initiative, the Western Governors' Drought Forum, followed by a discussion with drought experts. A keynote address by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and a spirited Q&A with the governors concluded the afternoon. Day 1 recap.
The Governors approved policy resolutions, heard a keynote address by Michael Leavitt, engaged with transportation experts on pressing regional issues, and elected their incoming WGA Chairman on the second day of the meeting. Day 2 recap. The final day opened with a discussion of new, utility-scale energy storage. Incoming WGA Chairman, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, concluded the meeting with a speech about the focus of his Chairman's Initiative for the coming year: the Endangered Species Act. Day 3 recap.
The Western Governors attending the meeting, hosted by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, included Bill Walker (Alaska), Doug Ducey (Arizona), John Hickenlooper (Colorado), Eddie Calvo (Guam), Butch Otter (Idaho), Steve Bullock (Montana), Jack Dalrymple (North Dakota), Gary Herbert (Utah) and Matt Mead (Wyoming).
Interior Secretary Jewell discussed a variety of issues, including the importance of moving away from the current "fire borrowing" model for funding wildfire suppression, and also lauded the Governors' greater sage-grouse conservation work.