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Governors Schweitzer, Otter elected to lead WGA, energy and climate change high priorities

June 16, 2009View for printing

Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana, newly elected chairman of the Western Governors’ Association, said energy and climate change will continue to be top priorities for the association over the next year.

Schweitzer officially took over as chair today at the close of the WGA Annual Meeting here. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter of Idaho is the new vice chairman.

“Western states are at the very center of our country’s energy future, and Western governors will take the lead in building the bridge to a new energy economy,” Schweitzer said.

Today’s closing plenary session focused on fostering international cooperation on energy and the environment. On Monday the governors adopted a policy resolution that called for several actions to foster development of clean energy resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Among the recommendations was the need for a substantial, long-term national investment of tens of billions of dollars annually to support research and deployment of clean energy technologies and infrastructure that would result in:

* near-zero gas emissions from new coal-fired electricity generation in 10 years and from existing generation no later than 2030;

* increased energy from wind, solar, geothermal, hydro and biomass resources;

* expansion and upgrade of the electricity transmission grid and storage capabilities;

* advanced vehicle and battery technologies and alternative transportation fuels; and

* next generation energy efficiency technologies and practices.

All of the policy resolutions adopted are available on the WGA Web site at Also available from the Web site is archived video of the plenary sessions.

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The Western Governors’ Association is an independent, nonprofit organization representing the governors of 19 states and three U.S.-Flag islands in the Pacific. Through their Association, the Western governors identify and address key policy and governance issues in natural resources, the environment, human services, economic development, international relations and public management.

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