Denver, CO – Today, Western Values Project — a new government and industry watchdog organization founded to give a voice to millions of Westerners — officially launched with offices in Bozeman, Mont., and Denver, Colo.
Western Values Project will represent and elevate Western values in the public debate surrounding oil and gas issues – a space too often dominated by industry lobbyists and their allies in Congress– and hold government and industry accountable to Westerners as they make critical decisions about how we use public lands and develop America’s energy policies.
Westerners strongly believe oil and gas production can and should happen in the appropriate places, but that we must balance energy development with protecting our outdoor way of life. Recent polling shows that 79 percent of Westerners across party lines believe public lands are essential to their quality of life and local economies, and 63 percent of those polled consider themselves conservationists.
Ross Lane, a 3rd-generation Westerner with strong roots in Montana will serve as Director for Western Values Project. Ross is a communications advisor who worked with diverse stakeholders including sportsmen and veterans groups for Senator Tester’s successful re-election campaign. He served as chief of staff and director of communications for the House Minority Office in Montana’s citizen Legislature. Ross is a lifelong sportsman and outdoorsman.
“A majority of folks in the West believe we need a balanced approach when it comes to conservation and energy development,” said Ross Lane, Director for Western Values Project. “Our government’s out-of-balance policies show they’re more interested in listening to oil and gas interests than to the Westerners they serve. It’s time somebody speaks for those of us who actually live here.”
Read more about Lane and his vision for Western Values Project in his inaugural blog post.
Western Values Project builds on the significant work of the Checks and Balances Project, which took important steps in holding government officials, lobbyists, and corporate management accountable for their actions related to energy, government spending, public health, and the environment. This new organization will focus on ensuring Westerners have a voice in the public debate surrounding energy development in the West.
“The outdoors is why businesses come to the West, it’s why people visit from around the world, and it’s why our communities are healthy and thriving,” said Lane. “Unfortunately, Western taxpayers are simply not part of the Washington equation. Energy development is important, but industry and our public officials must be held accountable for the balanced approach we want and deserve. I’m excited to bring a Western voice into the conversation.”
Western Values Project will focus its efforts on five major themes:
Western Values Project receives financial support from New Venture Fund. New Venture Fund, a 501(c) 3 public charity, supports innovative public interest projects in global health and development, conservation, health, education and other critical sectors.
For more information please visit www.westernvaluesproject.org
Ross Lane (406) 370-8155