Western Governors Approve an Updated “Energy Vision for the West” Among a Dozen Policy Resolutions

The 2018 Western Governors Association Annual Meeting took place June 25-27 in Rapid City, South Dakota. WGA Chair Governor Dennis Daugaard hosted his colleagues, administration officials, and others to discuss critical issues facing the American West.

The WGA approved 12 policy resolutions, which you can read here, on topics such as workforce development, international trade, and western infrastructure. Several of these resolutions dealt with clean energy issues in one way or another.

Left to Right:

Governors Matt Mead (R- WY), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Gary Herbert (R- UT), Dennis Daugaard (R-SD), Steve Bullock (D-MT), Doug Burgum (R- ND), Butch Otter (R-ID), and Premier Scott Moe (Saskatchewan)

Perhaps most importantly, the Governors established an updated “Energy Vision for the West,” which included the following as energy policy priorities for the West:

  • Secure the United States’ energy supply and systems and safeguard against risks to cybersecurity and physical security.
  • Ensure energy is clean, affordable and reliable by providing a balanced portfolio of renewable, non-traditional, and traditional resources.
  • Increase energy efficiency associated with electricity, natural gas, and other energy sources and uses to enhance energy affordability and to effectively meet environmental goals.
  • Advance efficient environmental review, siting, and permitting processes that facilitate energy development and the improvement and construction of necessary electric grid (transmission and distribution) and pipeline infrastructure while ensuring environmental and natural resource protection.
  • Improve the United States’ electric grid’s reliability and resiliency.
  • Protect western wildlife, natural resources, and the environment, including clean air and clean water, and strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Make the West a leader in energy education, technology development, research, and innovation.
  • Utilize an all-of-the above approach to energy development and use in the West, while protecting the environment, wildlife, and natural resources.

The plan also directed WGA staff to consult with the Western Interstate Energy Board to recommend updates to the 10-Year Energy Vision that provide detail on the Governors’ energy policy objectives outlined in their resolution.

Among the other resolutions, Policy Resolution 2018-05: Air Quality and Methane Emissions Regulation recommends improving the state-federal relationship in the regulation of air quality and methane emissions, ozone regulation, exceptional events, regional haze, and wildfire and prescribed fire.

Policy Resolution 2018-07: Enhanced Oil Recovery provides a long-term path for low-carbon use of the nation’s coal and oil resources and the nation’s energy and fiscal security by reducing dependence on foreign oil. Among the highlights of this resolution was support for carbon capture and storage innovation, a topic we have talked about a lot lately, including here and here.

CRES has attended WGA events and worked with several Governors in the past on energy issues in these states. We applaud the Governors for all of these resolutions as they align closely with our own values.

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