FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2015
Dave Parker, Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9844
Mike Wessler, Deputy Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9725
Washington, D.C. – Governor Steve Bullock today wrapped up a trip to Washington, D.C. where he met with members of Congress and shared Montana success stories in the realm of natural resource management, advocated for greater predictability and transparency in the endangered species act, and urged members to approve long-term sustainable funding for a highway bill and reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Board. Bullock was joined by other governors from western states.
“At a time when gridlock and partisanship are the norm Washington, D.C., Montana can serve as an example of how to get results to improve the economy of our state and the lives of the people who call it home,” Bullock said of his trip. “Here in Big Sky Country, we have a track record of putting aside partisanship to find commonsense solutions on issues such as natural resource, land, and wildlife management. It was my pleasure to share Montana’s successes with members of Congress.”
On Tuesday, Bullock was joined by western governors as he met with members of the Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation. During this meeting he stressed the importance of passing a long-term highway funding bill, noting that Montana receives nearly $400 million annually in federal highway funds. Bullock also noted that short-term federal transportation funding extensions do not give states the certainty to design and plan highway construction projects.
Later in the day, Bullock and Wyoming Governor Matt Mead testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife, where they advocated for greater predictability and state engagement with the Endangered Species Act. Bullock and Mead worked together closely to prevent the listing of the Greater Sage-grouse.
“Our states hold our fish and wildlife resources in trust for all citizens, and it’s a responsibility we take seriously,” Bullock told the committee. “The delisting process must become more straightforward, so we can spend our collective resources on species that need more attention.”
On Wednesday, Bullock was joined by Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah, Gov. Matt Mead of Wyoming and Gov. Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota, as he advocated for improved state management over natural resource development, and urged against any attempts to transfer federal land to state ownership.
“For families in Montana, our public lands heritage is one of the great equalizers, where anyone can hunt, fish, hike, or ride to their heart’s content, regardless of their social or economic status. Montanans, myself included, have been clear that they do not want the state to pursue the takeover of our federal public lands,” Bullock said in his testimony. “That said, we do our share of pushing back against federal intrusion, and we’ve also aggressively pushed for constructive partnerships and active engagement with the federal government using our authority, expertise and research, and harnessing the incredible capacity of our citizens to work together collaboratively and problem solve.”
Bullock’s meetings came as part of a meeting of the Western Governors’ Association, where he currently serves at the organization’s vice chair. He will take over as chair of the organization in spring of 2016.