OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Following dozens of landslides, record snowpack and extraordinary river flows, Governor Matt Mead has asked President Obama for a Presidential Disaster Declaration. If granted, such a declaration triggers federal assistance for damage to public infrastructure, including roads and highways.
“I credit the Wyoming National Guard, Office of Homeland Security and our local officials who answered the call, came prepared and succeeded in protecting our communities,” Governor Mead said. “These men and women averted a major disaster but, cumulatively, the moisture took its toll and the damages need to be addressed.”
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency the total estimated damage is $4.2 million dollars. The President would declare a disaster on a county by county basis. Separately, Governor Mead asked the President for a declaration related to highway damage. The estimated costs for emergency repairs to highways and interstates is $2.8 million dollars, with the cost of permanent repairs expected to be much higher. This declaration would be statewide.
Governor Mead also requested U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to declare agriculture disasters in Carbon and Albany Counties. Other Wyoming counties are expected to be added as damages are determined or if they are contiguous to a county that receives a disaster declaration. The agricultural request came from the counties because of damage to agricultural land or structures. Further requests could come to Governor Mead soon.
“Wyoming meets the threshold to qualify for a Presidential Disaster Declaration and by being out in front of the potential flooding our efforts paid off and we saved the federal government quite a bit of money,” Governor Mead said.
Governor Mead signed an Executive Order on May 27th activating the Wyoming National Guard. Troops deployed to several counties around Wyoming before flooding occurred. Those National Guard members filled and placed 173,000 sandbags, built 5000 feet of protective berms and laid out over four miles of reinforcing material.
“I am struck by the sheer volume of work these National Guard troops accomplished,” Governor Mead said. “They responded at all hours to literally protect homes. I am also impressed by the response of the communities that worked side by side with our Guard and treated the troops so well.”
The last of the National Guard troops returned home last week. Governor Mead and the First Lady attended an event to thank members of the Guard and staff of the Office of Homeland Security last night. (The attached photo is from this event. Governor Mead is framed by Guy Cameron, Director of the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security and Adjutant General Luke Reiner)