Oil giant British Petroleum (BP), while dealing with a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, is also sponsoring a legislative summit slated for September in Sun Valley, Idaho. The summit, officially known as the Council of State Governments-West (CSG-West), will bring together delegations of lawmakers from the 13 western states to discuss issues unique to the region.
BP is the largest sponsor for the event, but it isn’t the only corporate sponsor. The oil giant is the only Diamond Sponsor of the summit, meaning that the company has given $20,000 to CSG-West. Another titan of the oil industry, Chevron, has given $10,000 and is a Gold Sponsor, as is Altria, formerly the Phillip Morris Company, which is best known for its tobacco products. Smaller sponsors include Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, GlaxoSmithKline, Shell, Bank of America, and others.
Cheryl Duvauchelle, tasked with obtaining sponsorships for the event, said that she sent out letters in February to more than 400 companies asking for support for the conference, of which 26 responded. BP, Duvachelle explained, has been a sponsor since at least 2000, for which CSG-West is grateful. “We’ve really appreciated their support,” she said. Duvachelle said that there are several more large sponsorships in the works, but that she was unable to confirm them because deals have not been finalized. All programming for the conference, Duvachelle stressed to IdahoReporter.com, is set by delegates from states and CSG-West committee members and not corporate sponsors.
The conference will feature several prominent speakers, including pollster and author Frank Luntz, NPR political correspondent Maria Liasson, and economist Jeff Thredgold. Those attending the event will also be treated to a myriad of social activities, including daily nature walks, a mystery dinner theater, and a tour of Redfish Lake. Transportation, fiscal affairs, trade, water, public lands, and education are all topics that legislators will have the opportunity to discuss during meetings at the conference. The group as a whole will have the opportunity to adopt resolutions that reflect the views of the states represented, which it has done several times in the past. At last year’s conference, held in Sante Fe, New Mexico, delegates approved a resolution calling for open and fair trade among Mexico, Canada, and the United States.
As the host for the event, Idaho is expected to have a large governmental presence. Republican Gov. Butch Otter is expected to give opening remarks to delegates and Rep. Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, is the chair for CSG-West’s oversight committee. It is anticipated that several other state lawmakers will attend the proceedings.