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Gazette Premium Content Western governors to gather in Colorado Springs to discuss disasters, energy issues

By Megan Schrader Published: June 8, 2014

Governors from across the West will come to Colorado Springs this week for an annual meeting of minds to address issues in common, such as wildfires, floods, drought and maintenance of federal lands.

The question of pooling emergency resources - namely aerial firefighting equipment - will likely be a topic among the states' leaders as they meet Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at The Broadmoor hotel.

Colorado just launched its fleet of aircraft to spot and detect fires but is relying on federal resources for large slurry bombers along with most other Western states.

Some of the governors will take a tour of the Waldo Canyon burn scar that is being led by The Nature Conservancy to learn about the recovery and impacts the fire had on the community and on water resources.

Governors from Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming are expected to attend the event. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is hosting the event as the chairman this year of the Western Governors' Association.

The governors will hear from Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, about the natural disasters that have plagued the West, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy.

McCarthy will talk about the new EPA restrictions on power plants. Those restrictions were announced last week by President Barack Obama's administration and will likely cause a shift from coal-fired power plants across the nation. The restrictions call for cutting carbon-dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

It's not clear what impact such restrictions would have on the future of the Martin Drake Power Plant, which was seriously damaged by a fire in May and remains shut down.

The meeting is an opportunity for governors to develop a joint platform on a variety of federal issues so their collective voices have more weight in Washington, D.C. Several announcements are expected over the three days regarding policy stances and common goals.

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Contact Megan Schrader:

719-286-0644

Twitter: @CapitolSchrader

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