Our archives

Major Funders:
Foundation for Community Vitality
Greater Montana Foundation
Encouraging communications on issues, trends and values of importance to Montanans.

A Look Ahead

Utah hosts WGA meeting
At annual meeting, Western governors discuss
management of public lands, health care, education and energy

By: Joe Rassenfoss
Communications Director
Western Governors' Association
for Mountain West News
June 14, 2013

Newly appointed Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and T. Boone Pickens, the Chairman of BP Capital Management, will be special guests at the Annual Meeting of the Western Governors' Association June 28-30 at the beautiful Montage Deer Valley in Park City, Utah.

Secretary Jewell will take part in a panel on Friday (June 28) examining ways to align state and federal resources to improve management of public lands. Earlier in the day Pickens, who has built one of the largest independent oil companies in the United States, will deliver a keynote speech on the state of energy.

Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert, WGA Chairman, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, WGA Vice Chairman, will join Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, Idaho Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard and, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Alberta Premier Alison Redford and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, as well as Gov. Lolo Moliga from American Somoa at the annual meeting in Utah.

The meeting offers a slate of sessions for attendees, including the aforementioned session on public lands on Friday in which Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will be joined by Utah U.S. Rep Rob Bishop; Jamie Williams, President, The Wilderness Society; and Ronald W. Jibson, Chairman, President and CEO, Questar Corp.

Other sessions include:

A discussion of the Endangered Species Act, moderated by Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, with Samuel D. Rauch III, Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries at NOAA and Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Saturday (June 29) kicks off with a roundtable discussion on health care, including state-based innovations, ranging from insurance exchanges, expanding Medicaid coverage and meeting medical needs in rural communities. Mike Leavitt, former Health and Human Services secretary and founder and CEO of Leavitt Partners; Greg Poulsen, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of Intermountain Healthcare; and Michael Rashid, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AmeriHealth Caritas will help facilitate the discussion.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval will moderate a roundtable on education with panelists including Daniel Greenstein, Director of Postsecondary Success Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Dr. Bob Mendenhall, President, Western Governors University; and Neil Ashdown, President, iSchool.

The weekend’s activities also will include some Hollywood sizzle, thanks to a sneak preview of the new Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films' movie The Lone Ranger, starring rising star Armie Hammer as the Masked Man and superstar Johnny Depp as his sidekick Tonto.

All attendees will have a chance to see the movie on Saturday (June 29) as well as watch the governors walk the red carpet. Expectations for the film, which opens in theaters the following week, are high thanks to Bruckheimer's past success with the likes of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

On Sunday, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead will lead a discussion on energy, which include discussion on three new reports to be released at the conference: 10-Year Energy Vision: Goals and Objectives; The State of Energy in the West; and Energy Perspectives: Western Governors and Premiers highlight their energy priorities.


Joe Rassenfoss is communications director for The Western Governors' Association, an independent, non-partisan organization of Governors from 19 Western states, two Pacific-flag territories and one commonwealth. Follow The Western Governors' Association on Twitter and “Like” them on Facebook.

Register online for the Western Governors' Association's Annual Meeting
June 28-30, 2013
Park City, Utah

View the Agenda online

Hotels in the Park City area are beginning to fill, so register now to secure your room.

Online registration continues until June 21. On-site registration will be available as well.

For more information, the latest agenda and online registration, visit the WGA site .

About the
Western Governors' Association

The Western Governors' Association is an independent, nonprofit organization representing the Governors of 19 states and three US-Flag Pacific islands. Through their Association, the Governors identify and address key policy and governance issues that include natural resources, the environment, human services, economic development, intergovernmental relations and international relations

"H ow are we going to survive this year with the warmest, driest winter ever and a population we have never had before? The answer is that we need to focus on conservation and being more efficient. But we will make it because of dams and reservoirs that have been built. The storage from those dams is critical to support our lifestyle and the economy we have built. Any responsible person would say it is not reasonable in any stretch of the imagination [to dismantle dams]."

Richard Bay, CEO of the Jordan Valley Water Conservation District in Utah, taking a decidedly different view from Daniel Beard, a former Bureau of Reclamation official, who advocates for the removal of Glen Canyon Dam in his new book.
- Salt Lake Tribune

On The Bookshelf

Mountain West Perspectives
Montana's two-year colleges revamp education to meet changing workplace demands


A Look Ahead
Western Governors Association's Drought ForumRegister now for these webinars:

    April 8: “One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Why Variation in Hydrology and Legal Structures means that Drought Looks Different across the West”

April 1-May 1: Water in the American West, a free, online college level course, offered by The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado. Register now.

Mountain West Voices
Hear weekly stories from the Rocky Mountain West as gathered by Clay Scott

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West

at the

The University of Montana