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NACo Western Interstate Region Report - 2012 Legislative Conference

Posted Date: 
April 11, 2012
Lesley Robinson, Phillips County & Mike Murray, Lewis & Clark County

"The conference focuses on the public lands and other issues critical to the western region of the United States (15 western states) by providing county officials with the opportunity to hear speakers, discuss legislation, network with other officials and share ideas and information."

The meeting opened with  brief (20 minute) reports from the NACO steering committees Chairs: Transportation, Labor and Employment, Energy, Environment and Land Use and Public Lands. MACO has representatives on each of these committees and the will do separate reports.

Paul Henson, Oregon State Director, US Fish and Wildlife Service-- spoke of a unique problem with the spotted owl. The barred owl is moving into and taking over habit of the spotted owl and again or still the spotted owl is endangered. The Wildlife Service plans to manage the and remove  the barred owl through eradication, if necessary, in specific areas. When barred owls are removed, the spotted owl returns and thrives. Currently, they are working to be sure their plan is legally defensible.

Carol Holden spoke to us on the importance of the Workforce Investment Act which supports funding for job training programs. She also pointed out the burden GASB 25 and 27 is for counties and asked our support to get rid of them and amendments to them.

Thomas Donnelly, National Water Resources Association, stated that rights is the corner stone of his organization. They are concerned about areas west of the 100 meridian. They support the Clean Water Act of 19. Currently there isn't a federal plan to address the aging infrastructure. They also support power generators on irrigation ditches that produce up to  1.5 megawatts.

Melissa Simpson of the Safari Club wants to de-list grey wolves, burrows, and wild horses. She didn't care much for the forest service and the job they are doing either.

Resolutions were the same as those covered in the public lands report.

Lesley Robinson | | (406)673-3394 and Mike Murray | | (406)447-3197