Western Leaders Network, a group created by La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt, is hosting a launch party at 4 p.m. Thursday at Eno Wine and Coffee Bar, 723 East Second Ave. High tea and champagne will be served.
Western Leaders Network is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in February to form a network and platform for pro-conservation elected officials. The group will provide resources and policy ideas to local leaders to help protect lands in their communities. It plans to connect leaders from Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.
“We want to build a strong network so we can address and protect air and water quality and keep public lands public,” Lachelt said. “We want to come together and share policy ideas because we have so much in common throughout the West.”
The organization has run a successful campaign, convincing Congress to vote against a resolution in May that would have overturned the Bureau of Land Management methane venting and flaring rule. The group collected 120 signatures from county commissioners, local officials and electric cooperatives in a letter it sent to all 100 senators.
“Senators we were able to visit with said it makes all the difference in the world to hear from people who are actually directly impacted by these issues and these policies,” she said.
Moving forward, the group plans to defend these regulations, encourage Congress to pass a responsible budget and protect national monuments, including the recently designated Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah.