Jackson Hole, WY - Governor Richardson is back in New Mexico fresh from a meeting of Western Governors in Wyoming, where recommendations were approved to help give wildlife a seat at the table when it comes to energy development and infrastructure in New Mexico, and the rest of the West. Western Governors put their energy in to making sure western wildlife is protected. The annual Western Governors meeting was held in in Wyoming where more than a dozen of the Governors approved recommendations to help protect wildlife and their habitat in the face of current plans to build wide energy corridors across the West. Wildlife biologist Steve Torbit with the National Wildlife Federation says it's a bold move for the gubernatorial group, "What the Governors have said is, 'in these special areas, how can development adjust to maintain wildlife?' So, they've really turned the paradigm on its head."
Torbit said that the Governors also agreed that the public should have more of a say in oil and gas drilling in the West. He adds that despite the Governors' agreement, much of the decision-making power still lies in the hands of the federal and local governments. Torbit who was one of the experts who helped to shape the Governors' recommendations, added that more and more Western politicians have come to understand the value of wildlife, not only to the environment, but to the local culture and economy, "It's, I think, an important recognition of the value that wildlife has for the people of the West and the landscape of the West."