The Western United States operates in a complex network of federal, state, local, tribal, treaty, and private jurisdictions that make it one of the most studied and regulated regions in the country. This regulation has helped the region to responsibly manage growth while preserving the utility and natural beauty of the entire region. Here are just some of the government and private interests that hold sway in the West.
Department of Interior: Huge swaths of the Western U.S. are managed, conserved, or regulated by the Forest Service, the Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Reclamation, and several other Interior agencies.
Department of Defense – Defense testing infrastructure, particularly Air Force infrastructure, greatly impacts development in many western states.
Department of Transportation – Non-Native settlement in the West was brought about by the advent of rail transportation, and today, agencies like the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, and the Federal Rail Administration play an central role in keeping the West moving.
Environmental Protection Agency – With massive population growth comes the potential for massive environmental impact
Department of Homeland Security – Because the region depends so much on migration and international trade, policies on immigration, trade, and border protection have a huge impact on western metropolitan economies.
Department of Energy – A legacy of nuclear testing and the advent of renewable energy ensure that agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,
Treaty Interests and Multi State Agreements – Multi-state compacts, like the Colorado River Compact, free trade agreements, like the North American Free Trade Agreement, and multi-entity cooperatives, like the California Independent System Operator, play a central role in the development of western economies.
Tribal Interests – Tribes are woven into the fabric of western states and are key to economic development and conservation efforts in many parts of the region.
State, County, and Municipal Interests – Each state, county, and municipality manages themselves in different ways, and the growth and development of metropolitan economies depends on cooperation between these entities
Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Councils of Governments, and Regional Transit Agencies – Staffed and managed by key stakeholders in western metropolitan regions, these agencies have a unique ability to bring people together and get things done. These agencies make up the bulk of the membership of the Western Regional Alliance