So far this week. we’ve had (1) the Executive Order by President Trump posted by Jon dated Dec. 21, (2) the Letter by Governors Inslee, Newsom, and Brown dated January 9th that Steve posted here. But another similar sounding piece of information is an MOU that was signed by the Western Governors Association Dec. 18th. IMHO, the Western Governors always seem to be working on useful things, but generally don’t seem to get much coverage in the media. Anyway, here’s the MOU. Sounds like everyone’s in agreement about what needs to be done. Maybe Inslee, Newsom and Brown are trying to get to the head of other western states’ funding pack? Or there’s some political angle that is not obvious (at least to me).
The purpose of this MOU is to establish a framework to allow the Forest Service and WGA to work collaboratively to accomplish mutual goals, further common interests, and effectively respond to the increasing suite of challenges facing western landscapes. Federal, state and private managers of forests and rangelands face a range of urgent challenges, among them catastrophic wildfires, invasive species, degraded watersheds, and epidemics of insects and disease. The conditions fueling these circumstances are not improving. Of particular concern, are longer fire seasons, the rising size and severity of wildfires, and the expanding risk to communities, natural resources, and firefighters. To address these issues, the Forest Service announced a new strategy outlining plans to work more closely with states to identify landscape-scale priorities for targeted treatments in areas with the highest payoffs.
The Forest Service will partner with state leaders and work shoulder-to-shoulder to co-manage risks, and identify land management priorities, using all available tools to reduce hazardous fuels, including mechanical treatments, prescribed fire, and management of unplanned fire in the right place at the right time, to mitigate them.
A key component of the Forest Service’s new shared stewardship strategy is to prioritize investment decisions on forest treatments-in direct coordination with states-using the most advanced science tools to increase the scope and scale of critical forest treatments that protect communities and create resilient forests and rangelands.
As the chief elected officials of states, Governors expect to engage with federal officials on the formulation and execution of public policy. Governors also have specialized knowledge of their states’ environments, resources, laws, culture, and economies that is essential to informed federal decision-making. By operating as authentic collaborators, the states and federal government can improve their service to the public by creating more efficient, effective, and long-lasting policy.
As far as I can tell, there is not another similar MOU with Interior.
Another WGA item of note: