Four Western Governors testified before the House Natural Resources Committee at a hearing on Thursday, September 30, at which they highlighted the importance of recognizing state expertise in relation to resource management and energy development.
Western Governors’ Association Chairman and Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, and Utah Governor Gary Herbert appeared before Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop of Utah on the topic, “Respecting State Authority, Responsibilities and Expertise Regarding Resource Management and Energy Development.”
“We share the belief that solutions developed at the local level — by the people who live in the state and are impacted the most — are typically more effective and lasting than those developed by officials who live and work hundreds or thousands of miles away,” said Gov. Herbert.
Governor Bullock also advocated for increased state management over natural resource development. “We’ve aggressively pushed for constructive partnerships and active engagement with the federal government using our authority, expertise and research, and harnessing the incredible capacity of our citizens to work together collaboratively and problem solve.”
“We believe in states’ rights,” said Governor Mead, speaking of the respect and collaboration that exists within WGA. “We wish for the federal government to show the same respect for Western Governors that we show for each other.”
Governor Daugaard elaborated on how states should be consulted earlier and more intensely with resource management, especially endangered species.
“Unfortunately, state governments are often left out of the conversation when it comes to Endangered Species Act (ESA) decisions,” said Governor Daugaard. “Allowing state agencies to play a more active role in the administration of the ESA is an adjustment that can and should be made.”