The Western Governors' Association's new chairman, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., on Tuesday announced the ambitious goal of putting together a proposed national energy policy.

Huntsman, who assumed leadership of the association at the close of its three-day annual meeting in Jackson Hole, said the proposed policy should be completed in the next few months so it can be considered at the start of the next presidential administration in January.

"For me, this is the number-one priority of western governors," Huntsman told the Deseret News in a telephone interview after the announcement. "Time is essential in getting something drafted, vetted and negotiated."

He said the new president will pay attention to whatever the western governors come up with because they represent "the most energy relevant region" in terms of resources and development.

Huntsman, who has long supported the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, said no matter which party wins the White House in November, energy will be a top priority.

"I've heard from Sen. McCain that energy policy is going to be extremely important early on," the governor said. "My Democratic friends are telling me Obama is saying the same thing. What we have here is the blessing of timing."


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