August 4, 2017 – Washington, D.C: Congressional leaders sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that his Administration be the first to ensure meaningful coordination with States and local governments, in accordance with federal laws that have been on the books for over 30 years. Twenty-two Representatives from 14 states advanced a draft Executive Order for the President’s consideration, as well as three policies that renew Congress’ call for coordination.
Lead by Paul Gosar (AZ), Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus, Ken Buck (CO) and Doug LaMalfa (CA), the Congressional leaders recognized that the coordination directives in existing laws have not been carried out by any previous administration. Although local governments have been requesting coordination, the federal agencies have generally resisted this requirement.
In a statement issued Thursday by the Congressional Western Caucus, Chairman Gosar noted that “States and local governments possess important and critical knowledge that should be included in any planning process. Their voices deserve to be heard on important decisions that impact their livelihoods. If the Trump Administration fully implements coordination, valuable local perspectives won’t be ignored any longer, as they were, systematically, during the Obama Administration.”
The Congressional Members who signed the letter are:
Mark Amodei (NV), Brian Babin (TX), Kevin Brady (TX), Ken Buck (CO), Kevin Cramer ND), Trent Franks (AZ), Greg Gianforte (MT), Louie Gohmert (TX), Paul Gosar (AZ), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), Steve King (IA), Raul Labrador (ID), Doug LaMalfa (CA), Doug Lamborn (CO), Tom McClintock (CA), Alex Mooney (WV), Dan Newhouse (WA), Ralph Norman (SC), Steve Pearce (NM), Mike Simpson (ID), Glenn Thompson (PA), and Scott Tipton (CO).
The draft Executive Order, “Restoring the Rule of Law and Federalism by Ensuring Coordination with State and Local Governments,” sets forth the principles and policies for coordination as directed under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, National Forest Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. The Executive Order also would direct federal agencies to consider State and local planning and polices when making decisions to ensure consistency.
Many County officials have praised the Congressional leaders’ action.
“We have been calling on the federal agencies to coordinate with us for many years, but are routinely met with strong resistance,” commented Garfield County Colorado Commissioner, Tom Jankovsky. “In bringing this issue to the attention of the President, the Congressional leaders are giving us the help we need to build strong working relationships across all levels of government.”
“Coordination is essential to proper management of our land and resources, ensuring federal, state and local plans are harmonized and actions carried out in such a way that protects the people, the economy, and the land,” stated Kane County Utah Commissioner, Jim Matson. “We are grateful to the leaders in Congress for their decisive action in moving this issue to the desk of the President.”
“We must have federal agencies responsive and accountable at the local level,” commented Robert Corn, Chairman of the Chaves County New Mexico Board of Commissioners. “Coordination brings the decision-making back to where the people are directly impacted. We applaud our Congressional leaders for advancing this issue to the White House and look forward to real change on the ground.”