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2011 News Releases

Governor Mead's Statement on Delay of Post Office Closures

posted Sep 12, 2013, 11:43 AM by Unknown user

12/22/2011 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437

 

December 22, 2011

******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******
Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov
 


     Governor Mead’s Statement on Delay of Post Office Closures

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead said the U.S. Postal Service’s decision to delay closing post offices is prudent and he hopes Congress and the U.S.P.S. can use this time to develop savings and efficiencies other than closing rural post offices.
 
“There need to be cuts made to the Postal Service’s budget and there are ways to find efficiencies,” Governor Mead said. “But, closing rural post offices is not a big enough savings to make any real impact for the Postal Service and the closures would deeply impact people who depend on the mail system for communication.”
 
Governor Mead originally sent a letter to the United States Postal Service in August expressing his concern about closures. The U.S.P.S. has listed 43 post offices in the state that could potentially be shuttered. Governor Mead’s letter to the Regional Manager of the U.S.P.S. said closing these post offices is not a solution to the budgetary problems the Postal Service is facing.
 
“I believe a five-day delivery week is a better solution because it spreads the burden of cost savings out across the country,” Governor Mead said. “I will continue to push for alternatives to closing the offices during this delay.”
 
Governor Mead also expressed thanks to Wyoming’s Congressional Delegation for its work on behalf of residents that would be potentially impacted by closures.

Governor Mead Asks for More Thorough Testing of Wells in Pavillion

posted Sep 12, 2013, 11:42 AM by Unknown user

12/21/2011 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437

 

December 21, 2011

 

******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******
Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov


 
Governor Mead Asks for More Thorough Testing of Wells in Pavillion

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead has asked for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cooperation in the scientific review and analysis of groundwater quality. Governor Mead’s priority remains the health and safety of Wyoming residents and ensuring they have a long-term source of good drinking water. The EPA’s testing identified contaminants in test wells outside of Pavillion, Wyoming.
 
In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Governor Mead highlighted professional expertise within Wyoming and urged a cooperative approach between the state and the EPA to best serve a scientific, credible inquiry.  Governor Mead’s letter brought up the need for more data and requested public hearings in Wyoming as part of the process.
 
“I hope we can work together to move the work surrounding Pavillion water to a more cooperative, logical and scientific approach,” Governor Mead wrote. “The status, safety and the source of any contaminants to the water supply are issues I take seriously and I know you do too.”
 
This letter comes after the EPA released a draft report that suggests a link between contamination of test wells with hydraulic fracturing. In the letter Governor Mead asks Administrator Jackson to get more samples from the test wells before a peer review process begins and asks that Wyoming be a partner in the testing and the peer review.
 
“I would like to see efforts based on a cooperative, fully science-based analysis that truly serves the interests of Wyoming’s people, particularly citizens in the Pavillion area, Wyoming’s resources and industries, and the public at large,” Governor Mead wrote.
 
Governor Mead also asked that the EPA consider Wyoming’s expertise when assembling the peer review, urged the EPA to hold any peer review panel public hearings in Wyoming and asked for a response to these questions:
 
·       What is the specific charge to be given to the peer review panel?

·       Will peer review panel member selection give deference to the unique geology and hydrology of the Wind River and Fort Union formations?

·       Is it your expectation that peer review panel members develop one final consensus report; or rather do you anticipate five independent reports?

 
This letter was sent to Administrator Jackson today.

Governor Mead Expresses Deep Concern About Million Pipeline Project in Comments to FERC

posted Sep 12, 2013, 11:42 AM by Unknown user

12/16/2011 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437

 

December 16, 2011

 

******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******
Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov
 


Governor Mead Expresses Deep Concern About Million Pipeline Project in Comments to FERC

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today. That letter expresses the Governor’s deep concern about the proposed water pipeline from the Green River in Wyoming to Colorado’s Front Range. Governor Mead’s comments are meant to protect Wyoming’s economy and resources and show the project is not feasible.
 
“This project would cut a vast swath across southern Wyoming, with the potential for huge impacts in many significant sectors of our economy and aspects of critical resources to Wyoming and Colorado,” Governor Mead wrote. He added, “The proponent has stated this project will cost $3 billion to construct but little is known about the future cost to consumers or others from such a massive project.”
 
FERC is considering a preliminary permit for this project, which is now billed as a hydroelectric endeavor. It had been before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers until the Corps withdrew the application earlier this year. The project applicant then took it to FERC. Governor Mead expressed concern that FERC is not the correct entity to review this proposal, “The proponent has, by all appearances, shifted federal permitting venues to short-circuit the regulatory process and/or sidestep fundamental issues. I do not believe FERC should be the lead or initial permitting agency for this project.”
 
In terms of Wyoming’s water rights, Governor Mead wrote that the Upper Colorado River Basin Compact must be given full consideration because no project can disrupt Wyoming’s potential to develop its remaining appropriation under that Compact. While most of the water for this project would supposedly come from whatever Colorado’s unused portion of the compact is Governor Mead noted, “The applicant is proposing use of 25,000 acre feet of water per year from Wyoming’s undeveloped allocation under the Compact, and Wyoming has not agreed to this allocation.”
 
Governor Mead also raised concerns about the impact on recreation opportunities in the Flaming Gorge and the Green River as well as impacts on endangered species recovery programs in the Green and Colorado Rivers.
 
Wyoming Game and Fish Department has also filed a notice of intervention with FERC.

Governor Mead Appoints New State Geologist

posted Sep 12, 2013, 11:41 AM by Unknown user

12/15/2011 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437

 

December 15, 2011

 

******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******
Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov
 


                 Governor Mead Appoints New State Geologist

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead named Tom Drean as the Wyoming State Geologist. Drean previously worked for ConocoPhillips as the company’s president for Iraq.
 
“We are excited to have Tom take on this important role for Wyoming,” Governor Mead said. “His background working across the globe is impressive, as is his knowledge of geology and mineral resources.”
 
As State Geologist Drean will serve on the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the Wyoming Board of Professional Geologists. The State Geologist leads the Wyoming State Geological Survey. The mission of the WSGS is to promote the beneficial and environmentally sound use of Wyoming’s vast geologic, mineral and energy resources while helping protect the public from geologic hazards.
 
“I am honored to take on this role and to work with Governor Mead,” Drean said. “Wyoming is such an appealing place for a geologist. The resources here are world class on every front and I want to be a good steward of all of these resources.”
 
Drean worked for ConocoPhillips for over 26 years. He has held positions in the Middle East, Africa, Australia, South America, Europe and the United States. He has a Masters of Science from Penn State University where his area of study was geochemistry and a Bachelor of Science from Western Michigan University where his area of study was geology. His first day on the job is today and he replaces Wallace Ulrich.
 
“I want to thank Wallace Ulrich for his work as State Geologist and for his deep passion for Wyoming and its geology,” Governor Mead said.

Governor Mead lights Capitol Christmas tree

posted Sep 12, 2013, 11:39 AM by Unknown user


Nevaeh Lovato helps Governor Mead light the Capitol Christmas tree during the Governor's Tree Lighting Ceremony.

12/14/2011 

This year, the Annual Governor's Tree Lighting, was put on by the Arc of Laramie County.  Students from Cheyenne's special education classes made the ornaments for this year's Capitol Christmas tree.

WY Eager to Work with Other Western States on Sage-Grouse

posted Sep 12, 2013, 11:38 AM by Unknown user


*Photo credit: Tami Heilerman DOI photographer.

12/9/2011 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437
 
 
December 9, 2011
 
 
******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******
 
Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov
 
Governor Mead Says Wyoming is Eager to Work with Other Western States on Sage-Grouse Management
 
CHEYENNE, Wyo - Governor Matt Mead said that Wyoming has an approach for managing sage-grouse that balances development and conserving the species. Today, Governor Mead met with the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and representatives of other western states. This was to discuss Wyoming’s Sage-Grouse Core Area Protection strategy and other state-led efforts to keep the sage-grouse from listing under the Endangered Species Act.
 
“The suggestion was that the western states with sage-grouse and sage-grouse habitat should come together and share ideas and to discuss habitat and population concerns,” Governor Mead said. “The goal of the Endangered Species Act is not to add to the list, but to protect the species so they never make it to the endangered species list.”
 
Attendees of today’s meeting discussed developing a working agreement. Such an agreement would put in place conservation actions and commitments to meaningfully address both the continued viability of the sage-grouse and the need of westerners to enjoy multiple uses of their land and have reasonable predictability regarding regulatory requirements.
 
In Wyoming if the sage-grouse is listed it could impact ranching, oil and gas development and recreation. “Partnering with private industry, agriculture and the federal government has allowed us to balance conservation of the sage-grouse with development and job creation while keeping the bird from being listed,” Governor Mead said.
 
At a news conference following the meeting Secretary Salazar thanked Governor Mead and Wyoming for leadership on sage-grouse conservation. “We see Wyoming as a template for how we address the challenges sage-grouse is facing, not only in Wyoming, but across the West.”

In June Governor Mead signed the Sage-Grouse Core Area Protection Executive Order. It updated an Order signed by Governor Freudenthal providing more flexibility for management in the core areas. In August Secretary Salazar recognized Wyoming for its effort to keep sage-grouse off of the endangered species list with a Partners in Conservation Award.

Governor Mead: Implications of EPA Data Require Best Science

posted Sep 12, 2013, 11:37 AM by Unknown user

12/8/2011 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437

 

December 8, 2011

******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******
Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov


 
Governor Mead: Implications of EPA Data Require Best Science

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead said today that the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft study on Pavillion wells is scientifically questionable and more testing is needed.
 
“We believe that the draft study could have a critical impact on the energy industry and on the country so it is imperative that we not make conclusions based on only four data points,” Governor Mead said. “Those familiar with the scientific method recognize that it would not be appropriate to make a judgment without verifying all of the testing that has been done.”
 
Residents near Pavillion have complained about their water wells for several years. They are entitled to answers and they need clean water. Therefore, Wyoming formed a working group to investigate the problem. That group included residents, state agencies, Tribes, EPA and the Bureau of Land Management. The study released today from EPA was based on data from two test wells drilled in 2010 and tested once that year and once in April, 2011. Those test wells are deeper than drinking wells. The data from the test wells was not available to the rest of the working group until a month ago.
 
“The first review of the study by the Pavillion Working Group was unable to resolve many of the questions related to the sources of the compounds detected,” said John Corra, Director of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and a member of the Working Group. State agencies, representatives of the Tribes and the BLM all raised similar concerns to the EPA.
 
Specifically, Wyoming and other members of the Pavillion Working Group have raised questions about the lack of replication of testing (typically findings from only two sampling events suggest that more sampling is needed before conclusions can be drawn). Members of the working group also have questions about the compound 2-BE, which was found in 1 sample out of 4 that were taken, and why it was only found in results from one lab, while other labs tested the exact same water sample and did not find it.
 
“More sampling is needed to rule out surface contamination or the process of building these test wells as the source of the concerning results,” Tom Doll said. Doll is the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Supervisor and a member of the Pavillion Working Group.
 
Governor Mead has asked the EPA to partner with Wyoming and industry to do the necessary further testing. He said he was pleased to hear that the EPA would be willing to partner in that effort. Wyoming will take part in the peer review of the draft. “My takeaway message is that both the EPA and Wyoming believe this is only the beginning of the process to understand the cause and scope of what was found. There are too many questions raised by what we have seen so far to not pursue further information,” Governor Mead said.
 
“We do not want to predetermine the outcome of further research, but do feel the need for more thoroughness. I want to know what happened in Pavillion and feel the responsible approach is to do more testing,” Governor Mead said. “What we do know is that there has not been fracking in this area for several years and that there have been significant changes in our drilling regulations since then. Wyoming has led the country in regulating fracking because we want to protect our people, protect the environment and bring energy to the nation. More research will only help us.”
 
Earlier testing did show problems with a few drinking wells near Pavillion. The working group will continue to explore causes with those wells. Currently, the people with concerns about their drinking water are being provided water by industry. Wyoming has also commissioned a study to look at alternative water supplies for these residents.

Governor Mead Asks Full Court to Review Roadless Rule Decision

posted Sep 12, 2013, 11:36 AM by Unknown user

12/5/2011 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437

 

December 5, 2011

******FOR IMMEDIATE

RELEASE******
Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov
 
Governor Mead Asks Full Court to Review Roadless Rule Decision

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead, today, directed the State of Wyoming to petition for a rehearing of the decision that upheld the Roadless Rule. Governor Mead would like the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to consider Wyoming’s arguments en banc.
 
“This Rule has significant implications for Wyoming and our people,” Governor Mead said. “The case raises legal questions of exceptional importance and I believe it is necessary to have this decision reviewed by the entire Tenth Circuit.”
 
The Petition for Rehearing says that the U.S. Forest Service violated the Wilderness Act when it created de facto wilderness areas across approximately 59 million acres of the nation's forests, including 3 million acres in Wyoming. In addition, the Petition states that the Forest Service radically altered the scope of the Roadless Rule without preparing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act; that the Forest Service circumvented the National Forest Management Act under the guise of nationwide rulemaking; that the Forest Service is required to evaluate forest use on a forest-by-forest basis rather than by national rule; and that the Forest Service predetermined the outcome of the Roadless Rule to satisfy a Presidential edict.
 
“The creation of these de facto wilderness areas means the voice of the public and the State are stifled in managing the lands here,” Governor Mead said. “Not only does this prevent many uses of public land, but it also limits our ability to fight back against the bark beetles that are devastating our forests.”
 
The Petition was filed with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals today.

Governor Mead Proposes Reduction in Ongoing Spending

posted Sep 12, 2013, 11:35 AM by Unknown user


12/1/2011 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437

 

December 1, 2011

******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******
Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov
 
Governor Mead Proposes Reduction in Ongoing Spending While Making Important Investments

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead announced his first biennial budget today. That budget, for the 2013-14 biennium, strikes an important balance between fiscal restraint and capitalizing on opportunities to invest in services with significant impacts for local communities, highways and education.

“Wyoming is financially strong and we have an opportunity to invest in our future while recognizing we must always be good stewards of public dollars,” Governor Mead said. To this end, he proposes a reduction in ongoing spending of over $17 million. “The standard budget in Wyoming has more than doubled over the last ten years. While the State has accomplished a great deal during that decade, we see flat revenue projections ahead and we must recognize that the previous rate of growth is not sustainable.”

Governor Mead’s proposal reserves $87 million dollars unappropriated from the state’s general fund available for legislative consideration and over $400 million that can go to savings. “This leaves significant funding to the discretion of the Legislature for that body to bring its thoughts and expertise to bear on the priorities of the State. Recognizing the value of services the State provides also requires an acknowledgement that budget reductions should be done with careful consideration of the consequences. Therefore, I prefer to leave dollars on the table rather than have agencies, in a very short time period, being asked to make 5 to 8 percent across the board cuts,” Governor Mead said.

Governor Mead notes it is important to be cautious. “With projections showing that state revenue will flatten out over the coming years, with anticipated federal cuts, and with growing instability in other parts of the world, it is necessary to exercise restraint with ongoing spending. I believe my budget reflects our strong financial position now, while taking a measured approach going forward,” Governor Mead said.

The budget proposal identifies the challenge of accurately counting the number of state employees. Governor Mead notes the varied names for employees. Some are part-time, some are contract, while some have other designations. “The state employee number needs to count everybody and express a straightforward total,” Governor Mead said. His budget increases employees by 28 due to 31 individuals moving from the status of University employees to state employees because of a change in the administration of the Casper Family Residency Program.

Governor Mead took a conservative, but measured approach to spending control, which allowed him the flexibility to apply revenue to one-time initiatives that move Wyoming forward. “We must position ourselves strategically to take advantage of economic growth and development opportunities so that our state, now and in the future, can remain strong and become stronger,” Governor Mead said.

The Governor’s budget proposal puts one-time money towards local governments, highways and schools, including the community colleges and University of Wyoming. “This budget recommends investment in the programs that create opportunities – education, construction funds, highways, cities, towns and counties. We invest in initiatives aimed at protecting and improving quality of life,” Governor Mead wrote in a letter to Wyoming legislators.

These funding recommendations include $168 million for cities, towns and counties, mostly for infrastructure  projects and major maintenance, $15 million for landfill remediation or closure, $100 million for highways and roads, $21 million for the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust, $39.4 million for water projects, $15 million for mega data center and technology company incentives, $247 million for school capital construction projects, $55 million for University of Wyoming construction projects and $28.5 million for community college capital construction.
 
Governor Mead’s proposal also sets an investment strategy for AML money already in Wyoming’s coffers to continue to add value to natural resources and energy. Much of this $45 million would go to the School of Energy Resources (SER) at the University of Wyoming. The funding would expand research and expertise, match donations to the SER, work on a CO2 pipeline infrastructure across the state, convert vehicles to run on natural gas, and continue research on carbon sequestration and enhanced oil recovery. “It is appropriate to direct this existing revenue for continued efforts to add value to our energy resources,” Governor Mead said.
 
“I have incorporated several one-time recommendations based on budget requests,” Governor Mead wrote. “This strategy requires requests to be made and reviewed on a biennial basis, and it is a tool to reduce growth and increase transparency.” Governor Mead said this is especially important for spending on issues related to health care, given the uncertainty around the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. 

Governor Mead confirmed that his continuing commitment to reducing the size of government and making it more efficient is long-term. “I believe this approach will achieve the transparency and accountability the public not only demands but is entitled to from state government without loss of important services. It further supports investment in those arenas vital to the ongoing economic prosperity and quality of life we expect for Wyoming citizens.”

Steps toward efficiency include the merger of two departments - Workforce Services and Employment - into a single department, realignment of the Department of Health and the Office of State Lands and Investments, and cost savings achieved by the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO). Next steps are further consolidation of information technology services and staff within the OCIO, housed as a separate agency, and implementation of results of ongoing agency program reviews.   
 
To view the Governor’s letter to the Legislature and his budget you can go to after 1:00 pm: http://ai.state.wy.us/budget/20132014Budget.aspx

Governor Mead Names Partner for Health Information Exchange

posted Sep 12, 2013, 11:33 AM by Unknown user

11/23/2011 

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
State Capitol
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Ph. (307) 777-7437

 

November 23, 2011

 

******FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE******
Contact:
Renny MacKay
Communications Director
renny.mackay@wyo.gov


 
Governor Mead Names Partner for Health Information Exchange

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead asked the Wyoming e-Health Partnership, Inc. to take the lead in the Health Information Exchange (HIE) initiative for Wyoming. The Health Information Exchange facilitates sharing of health information among doctors’ offices, labs and hospitals within a community and across the state.
 
“This technology will serve Wyoming patients and their families as they access healthcare,” Governor Mead said. “Connecting providers and patients will help patients receive better care. I am pleased to see this initiative get underway.”
 
The HIE will eventually allow patients and providers to access health information from other locations in-state and out-of-state, including emergency care. Patient privacy and the security of health information are tightly controlled to prevent any unauthorized use. Patients will determine who has access to their health information and who does not.
 
“Bringing a secure Health Information Exchange to Wyoming is a collaborative effort between public and private entities and we are pleased to take the next steps toward connecting the state,” Governor Mead said. “This will give doctors access to a patient’s medication list helping to prevent medication errors and can give access to patient history so that a doctor knows if a certain test has been done. All of this makes people safer and can reduce costs.”
 
The Wyoming e-Health Partnership is a public/private non-profit partnership formed to improve healthcare delivery through the secure exchange of health information between providers and patients. 
 
Partnership President Lisa Brandes, MD commented, “Our patients deserve to have the best quality healthcare and a secure Health Information Exchange promotes quality. It ties the pieces of the healthcare system together for better treatment and improved patient outcomes.”
 
The Partnership works closely with the State of Wyoming and includes representatives from the Wyoming Medical Society, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Wyoming Medical Center, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming, South Lincoln Medical Center in Kemmerer, and the Wyoming Hospital Association.  For more information, contact Heather Roe Day at hroeday@ehealthwyo.org.

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