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MLAs network with U.S. States at CSG West

Posted on January 18, 2024 by admin

By Trevor Busch
Southern Alberta Newspapers
editor@tabertimes.com

Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter recently participated as part of a delegation to the Council of State Governments West (CSG West) meeting hosted in Los Angeles, Calif.

Spanning Nov. 12-15, 2023, Hunter joined fellow Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Tany Yao to work with Alberta’s national and international partners to advance shared interests that can lead to new opportunities for people and businesses.

“Great, great meeting, it was interesting to be able to chat with our southern neighbours and cousins about some of the issues that both of our countries are dealing with,” said Hunter.

The MLAs talked with U.S. and Canadian officials and legislators to discuss shared concerns and learnings in areas such as trade and investment, energy security, hydrogen development, two-way trade between Alberta and the western U.S., and agriculture. 

Hunter and Yao also attended the Executive Committee meeting and participated in sessions for the Westrends, Energy and Environment Committee, and the Agriculture and Water Committee. Hunter co-chaired the Canada Relations Committee.

“A couple of things that we’re dealing with is obviously we share a water source. So the Milk River is shared by Alberta and the United States,” said Hunter. “So we talked about that, we talked about how we can be better stewards of that water resource. We talked about our efforts to work on making sure that zebra mussels don’t get into our systems, because if they get into into your irrigation systems, they cause all sorts of havoc, and it could be hundreds of millions of dollars of damage. And so we talked about how we can standardize some of the practices across borders. And we’re going to do doing some work on that, too, to make sure that they’re robust enough to keep the zebra mussels out. So that was some good stuff.”

Yao was able talk about responsible oil development, and the avenue of carbon capture and storage as an emissions reduction method.

“He was able to engage with many of the States in terms of what we do up here with oil and gas with him being from Fort McMurray,” said Hunter. “So he was able to talk about the oil sands and about the good news story that we’re doing in terms of some carbon capture utilization and storage. And we made some good contacts, we made some good friends. And you know, in our world there’s more trade going south-north than there is east west. So people need to realize that we have to have good relations with our U.S. cousins.”

Established in 1947, CSG West promotes cooperation and collaboration among its members, which include the governments of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington State and Wyoming. Alberta, British Columbia and the U.S. territories of the Commonwealth of Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are associate members.

The annual gathering brings policymakers together to share knowledge and connect on common interests for economic and social growth in the western region such as agriculture and water, energy and the environment, education, health, housing and legislative oversight.

Alberta was the first Canadian international associate member of CSG West in 2000,followed by British Columbia in 2001. The United States is Alberta’s largest trading partner and Alberta is the second-largest provincial exporter to the U.S. In 2022, Alberta’s exports to the U.S. totalled US$141.3 billion.

Western U.S. is an important trade region for Alberta. In 2022, bilateral trade between Alberta and the CSG West member states totalled more than US$31.6 billion. In 2022, Alberta’s exports to the region totalled US$26.6 billion and Alberta imported US$5.1 billion from the CSG West region.

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