Urgent State Action

State-level policies play a major role in protecting the livability of communities, in addressing climate change, and in protecting the environment.

State policy is a powerful lever of change

State action can significantly reduce carbon emissions and create sustainable protections for rivers and lands in the face of climate change.

For more than three decades, WRA has used public policy to drive reductions in carbon emissions from the utility sector and to make clean energy investments. WRA works with state lawmakers and state agencies to develop and implement policies that regulate utilities to reduce carbon emissions across our region, and ultimately, to do our part to help limit global temperature rise to 2° Celsius. States can create bold environmental protections, even inspiring further federal action. For example, the federal Wildlife Corridor Conservation Act was modeled and enacted after nine states passed legislation promoting wildlife corridors and connectivity.

States also fill in gaps in federal legislation and step up when the federal government steps back from environmental protection. Changing administrations and congressional majorities are challenges to federal action to protecting the environment, making states the ideal venue for lasting environmental, conservation, and climate policy. The models we test and learn from at the state and local level can then be applied to other states and regions. Recognizing that environmental issues don’t stop at state boundaries, WRA’s approach allows for significant regional impact as well.

state capitol

Where We Work

WRA works across seven states in the Interior West and achieves substantial results by focusing on the venues where decisions are made — at state legislatures, within state agencies and commissions, and working directly with utilities, local governments, and municipalities.

  • We advocate in front of state utility commissions, shape policy with state legislators, and educate local decision makers on how to advance conservation.
  • We use science and research to help state and local governments shape and assess laws and rules that drive change and create accountability.
  • We collaborate and build relationships with a broad and diverse group of allies to ensure laws are passed and implemented in good faith to yield real results for all communities.
  • We support communities most affected by climate change by advocating for inclusion and ensuring all voices are heard where decisions are made.
Denver city hall building aerial shot

Stages of state action

Develop & Research

WRA combines experience and expertise with research and science to develop policies, legislation, plans, regulations, and rules that address complex problems. Our regional approach integrates the distinct political and cultural landscape of each individual state and allows us to scale proven strategies, models, and solutions across the West.

Listen & Collaborate

We work to ensure all voices are heard where decisions are made. We actively partner with communities, Indigenous governments, advocacy groups, and coalitions to develop effective and equitable policies, galvanize support, and unify communities around the most impactful state action.

Advocate & Influence

WRA advocates for the adoption of critical solutions where decisions are made in state and local government – in legislatures, governors’ offices, agencies, commissions, city councils, and more. Leveraging our policy expertise in government affairs and communications, WRA works closely with decision makers to inform and enact ambitious policies. At the same time, we work to stop efforts that are environmentally harmful and impede climate progress.

Implement & Measure

Once a law, policy, plan, or rule is enacted, there is important and detailed work required to ensure its effective implementation. WRA works with lawmakers, agencies, utilities, and stakeholders to put laws and policies into action. We defend them in legal forums, assess and analyze their impact, and ensure they deliver their intended outcomes.


Leveraging Federal/State Funding

The passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act in 2022, American Rescue Plan Act in 2021, and the Great American Outdoors Act in 2020, add historic federal investments for confronting climate change — building America’s clean energy economy; addressing much-needed habitat, river and watershed protection and restoration; and infusing critical funding for maintenance improvements on national forests and grasslands.

Looking forward, WRA will leverage the considerable federal funding and incentives included in these bills to advance the very best state policy solutions within the Interior West that:

  • Meet and expand state land protection goals, accelerate habitat reclamation, and safeguard wildlife.
  • Defend and restore communities and ecosystems from catastrophic wildfires.
  • Sustain and expand decarbonization goals among the power, transportation, and building sectors.
  • Advance sustainable river and watershed management and restoration in a drier, hotter West.

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Western Resource Advocates