OFFICE OF GOVERNOR MATT MEAD
Governor Mead urges Preparation for Possible Flooding
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – At a news conference today Governor Matt Mead said all Wyoming citizens need to be aware of the potential for flooding this year.
“We have snowpacks in Wyoming that we have not seen in 30 years,” Governor Mead said. “The potential for flooding and the potential for damage are real.” The snowpack statewide is at 155% of average, but some areas are over 200%.
“We are in a better position than we were last year as far as preparation, but we need to be because the snowpack is greater,” Governor Mead said. “We have a flood plan for Glendo State Park, which we did not have last year, and have distributed roughly a million sandbags around the state.”
Governor Mead tasked the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security with leading the preparation work, which to a great extent entails supporting local governments. Director of the Office of Homeland Security, Guy Cameron, said he has been meeting with local officials across Wyoming. He says the goal is to coordinate, assist and support them. That means looking at the planning efforts in place in each county and finding out what resources counties and cities may ask the state to provide.
Cameron said everyone can start preparing now. He says everyone should have an evacuation plan for their families and should build survival kits “with food, water, clothing, important papers and a radio” so that if an event happens they are personally prepared. In addition, Cameron says, “It is critical at the local level throughout our counties that our emergency managers are utilizing their emergency response plans and communicating those plans to the citizens in their respective counties as well as towns and cities.”
The State is also working with federal agencies to do risk assessment of flood potential and put in place protective measures for critical infrastructure. The Army Corps of Engineers has already completed this process with officials in Carbon County.
Also during today’s news conference Governor Mead said that Wyoming is joining the Utah lawsuit opposing the Wild Lands Order. That order was issued by Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, in December. Wyoming will finish filing the paperwork on that lawsuit next week.
Governor Mead says that the Wild Lands Order is a virtual wilderness policy and the power to create wilderness areas should be left to Congress. Governor Mead also wrote a letter to Secretary Salazar asking him to rescind this order saying that it ignores the contribution of Wyoming’s natural resources to the nation’s economic sustainability; ignores the revenues our State and local governments depend on from mineral and other development; and fails to address the impact to ranchers, recreationalists, and all the others who rely on the lands for so many different reasons.